28 April 2006

More Assistance for Internally Displaced Persons Needed in Côte d'Ivoire

ABIDJAN/NEW YORK, 27 April (OCHA) -- The results of a recent study on internal displacement show that an estimated 700,000 persons have been displaced in Côte d'Ivoire since the beginning of the current crisis in 2002.

The majority of the displaced have sought shelter in five principle zones -- Abidjan, Daloa, Duekoué, Toulepleu and Yamoussoukro -- with 90 per cent living with host families.  The strain that this has placed on the host families' resources has led to the growing pauperization of some.  Additionally, 50 per cent of those displaced report having seen their health situation worsen, while 30 per cent of displaced children lack the means to attend school.

During his recent five-day mission to Côte d'Ivoire, Walter Kälin, Representative of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights for Internally Displaced Persons, underscored the need to adopt a more systematic approach to the issue of internal displacement in Côte d'Ivoire.

The United Nations agencies and their humanitarian partners have been assisting tens of thousands of internally displaced persons in Côte d'Ivoire since the beginning of the crisis, and have implemented projects targeting the most vulnerable, throughout the national territory, in the areas of water and sanitation, basic health care, food security, education, community development, protection and social cohesion.  Internal displacement has been an area of particular focus in the Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP), on the basis of which the 2005 and 2006 consolidated appeals for Côte d'Ivoire were developed.

As part of their advocacy efforts, the United Nations agencies and partners co-published five aides-memoires in 2005, calling upon the Government to engage more strongly for the provision of assistance to internally displaced persons in five key areas, namely:  protection; access to clean drinking water; provision of basic health care; right to education; and the redeployment of the civil administration and social services throughout the national territory.

The United Nations agencies and partners have also conducted sustained advocacy on the basis of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, and requested an emergency cash grant from the United Nations new Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for urgent humanitarian activities in the west of Côte d'Ivoire.

During the current period of intense negotiations to resolve the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, the United Nations agencies, led by the Humanitarian Coordinator, called upon the Government and partners to respond to the challenge of meeting the needs of the internally displaced and to help them return to their homes in security and to achieve better living conditions.  Ending the current crisis is an essential precondition for economic recovery and poverty reduction, particularly for those displaced, and for the host families with whom they reside.

For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570.

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