Côte d’Ivoire: As Ivorians return to devastated villages, the IFRC calls for increased support

Published: 17 June 2011

17 June Dakar, Johannesburg, Geneva —Cholera has reappeared in Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire, increasing the needs of the people affected by the post-election crisis. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other partners, the Red Cross of Côte d’Ivoire has undertaken prevention activities to help eradicate the disease.

In the west of the country, a team from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Red Cross of Côte d’Ivoire has reached for the first time, several remote areas in Duékoué, Guiglo, Toulepleu and Blolékin in the Moyen Cavally region, where fighting was the most violent during the crisis, to assess the needs.

“Nearly 75% of villages located on the axis-Duékoué Toulepleu via Blolékin were severely affected by the conflict. Most of the houses were burned and looted and health facilities were severely damaged,” said Polak Haans, the head of the evaluation team of the IFRC in Côte d’Ivoire. “Thousands of people still remain in IDP (internally displaced people) sites or in Liberia. Many also remain in the bush, waiting for better security guarantees to return to their towns or villages of origin.”
With improved security, some families have started to return to their villages, but for most of them, the houses were burned and property looted, including food stocks, seeds and agricultural tools, risking a potential food crisis in many areas. Other families want to return home but don’t have the money to repair their houses.

In response to the crisis, the IFRC has launched an appeal for 6.7 million Swiss francs (USD 7.8 million; 5.5 million EUR) to assist the Red Cross of Côte d’Ivoire in strengthening its humanitarian program. This will provide assistance to people affected by the post-election violence mainly in the west, and contribute to reconstruction and social cohesion efforts.

The appeal will fund the distribution of construction materials and relief items to some 4,000 returning families to help them reconstruct their damaged homes or build temporary shelters. At least 60,000 people will benefit from health services and psychosocial support. Seeds and agricultural tools will be provided to vulnerable families to help them restore their livelihoods.

In addition, volunteers from the Red Cross of Côte d’Ivoire will also conduct hygiene promotion activities and rehabilitate water points. Their presence in the community will facilitate the implementation of community activities and psychosocial support, in order to strengthen social cohesion through the promotion of humanitarian values that underpin the Red Cross.

“There is an urgent need to help people with their recovery. Basic services and shelter remain out of reach for many and without assistance it will be difficult to rebuild their lives,” said Dr. Leonard Nioule Zéade, Secretary General of the Red Cross of Côte d’Ivoire.
On 30 March, the IFRC launched a regional appeal of almost 4 million Swiss francs (USD 4.3 million - 3.1 million) to support Ivorian refugees in neighbouring countries and internally displaced people in Côte d’Ivoire itself.

This new appeal focuses solely on Côte d’Ivoire and reflects the extent of damage and the needs identified by the Field Assessment and Coordination team (FACT), deployed by the IFRC.

It aims, in coordination with the ICRC, to cover the remaining needs and provide more comprehensive support to people affected by the post-election crisis.

For more information, or to set up interviews, please contact:
In Dakar:
• Moustapha Diallo, Communications officer, West Africa, IFRC
Mobile: +221 774 501 004 moustapha.diallo@ifrc.org
In Johannesburg:
• Faye Callaghan, Communications manager, Africa, IFRC
Mobile: +27 71 895 2774 faye.callaghan@ifrc.org
In Liberia:
• Ademola Alao, West Coast communications officer
Mobile:  +231 880 683 285, ademola.alao@ifrc.org
In Geneva:
• Paul Conneally, public communications manager, IFRC
Mobile: +41 79 308 98 09 – E-mail: paul.conneally@ifrc.org