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Aid reaches displaced Ivorians despite Abidjan violence

Aid reaches displaced Ivorians despite Abidjan violence

Over 10,000 people receive food and relief supplies, but wider distributions slowed by insecurity.
15 March 2011
Displaced people in western Côte d'Ivoire queue up for relief items, but aid delivery around Abidjan is getting harder due to ongoing violence.

GENEVA, March 15 (UNHCR) - More than 10,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Côte d'Ivoire city of Abidjan have received aid since UNHCR and partners started distribution last weekend amid serious insecurity.

The IDPs received tents, blankets, mats, mosquito nets and soap through UNHCR's local implementing partners, as well as food from the World Food Programme and medicines from UNICEF and the International Federation of the Red Cross.

However, new fighting in parts of Abidjan is affecting humanitarian access to some of the estimated 300,000 displaced people in the city. "Overall the situation for Abidjan's residents and humanitarian workers alike remains fragile," said UNHCR Spokeswoman Melissa Fleming in Geneva on Tuesday.

She noted that self-defence groups from both political camps have set up numerous check-points around the city. In Yopougon, fighting flared on Monday and UNHCR's partners were physically prevented from delivering aid, with direct consequences for people in need. At an IDP site there, 314 people have been reported ill. A woman had to give birth without medical support, while an eight-year-old boy with asthma was said to have died.

Aid delivery scheduled for early this week to villages surrounding Abidjan has been postponed due to new fighting in Yopougon and Abobo, which provide the only access routes to the villages.

Despite these security constraints, UNHCR and its partners have so far identified some 18,000 displaced people in groups spread across 24 sites, and 19,000 others living in clusters with host families. New pockets of IDPs are also being discovered in and around Abidjan, in Akoupé, Yamoussoukro and Jaqueville in south-eastern and eastern Côte d'Ivoire.