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Aid Groups Respond To Escalating Violence In Cote d’Ivoire

“Aid organizations are warning of an impending humanitarian crisis for tens of thousands of refugees who have arrived in Liberia after fleeing violence” in Cote d’Ivoire, CNN reports.

According to Oxfam, more than 100,000 people have crossed the border into Liberia, where they are staying in “dire conditions in jungle villages,” CNN writes (Wither, 4/5). “Despite the borders being closed, there are still quite a lot of people fleeing Ivory Coast to Liberia,” said Astrid Sletten of the Norwegian Refugee Council, VOA News reports. “The borders between Liberia and Ivory Coast are so porous and the Liberian authorities are not denying access for Ivoirians, so people are still coming,” Sletten said.

To aid displaced people, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has deployed in Duekoue, a town in the western part of Cote d’Ivoire, alongside the UNHCR, World Food Program and Caritas. Jean-Philippe Chauzy, a spokesperson for IOM, said the groups are “carrying out the very first registration of the displaced. Obviously, the needs are enormous. Access to potable water remains very difficult and also to latrines. Obviously, action will be taken to […] prevent the spread of diarrheal diseases” (DeCapua, 4/4).

Oxfam noted concerns about accessing refugees as the rainy season approaches, VOA News writes. “When the rains come … the whole area will become inaccessible,” Caroline Gluck, who works for Oxfam in Liberia, said, adding, “The clock is ticking to get people to safe and reachable areas.” According to VOA News, Gluck “added that the influx of refugees is doubling the populations of some of the border villages and is placing an enormous strain on locals, who have little food and facilities themselves” (4/5).

“Gluck noted that the emergency plan that has been drawn by the United Nations and others to help people in Liberia and Ivory Coast is still under 50 percent funded so there is a critical need for funding,” according to a second VOA News article. The funding “needs to come now because everyday thousands of refugees are coming over. Also when donors make commitments it takes a while for aid to get dispersed into aid on the ground,” she said (Mpuga, 4/2).

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