Monday, March 07, 2011

Civil war and humanitarian crisis... in Côte D'Ivoire

Another African country besides Libya is on the verge of civil war and humanitarian crisis.Over 200,000 people have fled Côte D'Ivoire to escape fighting over a disputed presidential election.

From the IPS, writer Fulgence Zamblé collects first person reports from a few of the refugees.

Where people have remained behind, they have been deprived of food by the closure of markets. Water and electricity supplies have been cut off and schools are effectively closed throughout the territory.

In the west of the country, according to international humanitarian organisations, around 65,000 Ivorian refugees have crossed the frontier and been registered in neighbouring Liberia in the last two weeks.

All of these are people fleeing the escalating violence and confrontation over the past two months between the two rival parties who claim victory in the presidential election of November 2010 in Côte d'Ivoire. Laurent Gbagbo was announced as the winner by the Constitutional council, while Ouattara was declared winner by the Independent Electoral Commission and is recognised as such by the international community.

"We have spent three sleepless nights because of fighting. It's impossible to find food," Adrienne Tohoua, 35-year-old mother of four told IPS. Tohoua abandoned her house in Abobo PK 18, a precarious precinct in the north of the capital, home to more than 50,000 residents.

"We left several people behind who didn't know where to go and they would have been exposed to the fighting. Mortar shells fell among the houses and would have spared no one," she said, tears in her eyes.

Three hundred refugees have taken shelter in the Saint-Ambroise de Cocody-Angré parish in the city's northeast. Some 500 others have already passed through, on their way to other locations. Every day, displaced people file along the road towards this religious site.

"I have come eight kilometres to reach here. I'm going to rest briefly before returning to the road to reach my older brother who is already sheltering 13 people at his house," explained Séraphin Téty, holding his sixty-year old father by the hand. "He suffers from hypertension, so we need to find a health centre so we can manage his condition."

Many of the displaced lack the financial means to pay to flee. "I have a little in the bank, but it's closed. I have to move part of my family to the village and I find myself unable to pay for it," said Marcellin Tanoh.

1 comment:

Raimo said...

A school building was fenced off with barbed wire in Espoo, Finland in 1908 (see the picture in the link). Swedes fenced off school buildings with barbed wire, in order to ban children the access to a school.

The Swedish government was responsible for the most iron ore the Nazis received. Kiruna-Gällivare ore fields in Northern Sweden were all important to Nazi Germany.

These massive deliveries of iron ore and military facilities from Sweden to Nazi Germany lengthened World War II. Casualties of the war have been estimated at 20 million killed in Europe. How many of them died due to Sweden's material support to Nazi Germany, is not known.