Ivory Coast: Political, sexual, ethnic violence escalates
IRC medical teams are working at two transit centers in Liberia where they screen, treat and vaccinate refugees who have fled across the border from Ivory Coast. (Photo: Peter Biro/The IRC)
Civilians in Ivory Coast are at grave risk as targeted political and sexual assaults increase, tension escalates and an already massive humanitarian crisis worsens, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warned in a statement issued on April 7.
Behind the Crisis:
Fierce political violence and unrest since late November have created civil chaos in Ivory Coast. More than one million people are estimated to be displaced within the country and over 100,000 others have fled to Liberia for safety. Health care, sanitation and other vital services have virtually collapsed while food and water supplies are shrinking. In Abidjan and communities throughout the west, long-simmering tensions are being reignited.
Here is a look at how we are helping uprooted Ivorians and host communities on both sides of the border.
In Ivory Coast:
- IRC teams have already documented a steady rise in attacks against women. The IRC is running information campaigns in displacement camps and communities so that women know where to find help.
- We are expanding a program in several turbulent areas that focuses on easing tension in communities and preventing violence.
- In Danané, where thousands of people have sought refuge from the violence in schools and other repurposed buildings, the IRC has installed latrines, showers and water taps and has distributed hygiene kits in sites for displaced families
- Working with local partners we have also launched educational and recreational programs for displaced children and Identifying and tracing the families of separated minors
- We are hoping to extend programs to affected areas of Abidjan as soon as security permits.
- Two IRC mobile clinics, operating in border villages, are treating some 1,200 people weekly – nearly a third of them for malaria.
- Additional IRC medical teams are working at two transit centers where they screen, treat and vaccinate refugees relocated from the border areas, and identify vulnerable individuals, including separated minors and the disabled, for special assistance.
- The IRC has also ramped up programs for thousands of refugee children, providing educational and recreational activities in transit camps and host communities. We’re also paving the way for them to attend schools in Liberia so they can catch up on lost learning.
- IRC teams in Nimba County are working with local Liberian youth groups on campaigns to prevent the recruitment of children by armed groups – this in a region with a tragic history of recruiting child soldiers for warfare.
Donate Now: The IRC provides lifesaving support to people whose lives and communities have been shattered by violent conflict and devastation