At least 300,000 civilians still displaced in Côte d'Ivoire

Briefing Notes, 14 June 2011

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 14 June 2011, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

We are getting a clearer picture of displacement in Côte d'Ivoire two months after the resolution of the post-election crisis. Over the past three weeks, UNHCR and our partners have registered 322,277 internally displaced people (IDPs) across the country and registration is ongoing.

These displaced people are sheltered in IDP sites or with host families. Most are concentrated in the west (132,188), the north (62, 676) and Abidjan (55,912) in the south. They told our assessment teams that there are others still hiding in the bush. Local communities also told us that return conditions have improved in some of the areas that were worst affected by fighting. For example, in western Côte d'Ivoire's Zouan-Hounien and Teapleu areas, local communities are reporting significant improvements in the security situation.

By contrast, communal tensions are still high in the south-western Sassandra region. This was where more than 280 civilians were killed in early May by groups of mercenaries on the run from Abidjan. Many of the dead are buried in mass graves. Over 500 houses and a pharmacy were destroyed in five villages. An estimated 17,000 people are displaced in that region, including an unknown number reportedly still hiding in the forest.

Some of the IDPs are accused of having supported the mercenaries. The continued presence of armed vigilantes is also preventing the return of these displaced communities. UNHCR and our partners are finding new clusters of displaced people as we continue our assessment visits around the country. We have been delivering food and basic relief supplies to these new IDPs while continuing to support existing IDP sites and host families. At the same time, we are building new IDP camps to better assist and accommodate those unable to go back home for the time being.

There are still more than 200,000 Ivorian refugees hosted several West African countries.

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