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U.S. Boosts Cote d’Ivoire Commitment; Polio Vaccine Campaign Delayed In Country’s Southern Region

The U.S. has pledged an additional $8.5 million to relief efforts in Cote d’Ivoire after post-election violence led to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people and refugees, Devex reports. “With previous commitments of $12.6 million from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and $22 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development, total U.S. contributions to the relief efforts benefiting displaced Ivorians now stand at more than $43 million,” the news service writes (Villarino, 5/6).

According to a State Department release, the $8.5 billion will be divvied up with “$6.5 million in support for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and $2 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross” (5/5).

In related news, a polio vaccine campaign in the southern region of Bas Sassandra has been delayed by a week “after reports that there were armed groups near the area,” IRIN reports. “This is the second time in two months that conflict has disrupted operations to protect Ivoirians from polio – the country was not included in a West Africa vaccination drive in March due to post-election violence,” the news service writes.

Three people have recently contracted wild poliovirus type 3, which hasn’t been seen in the country for more than 10 years. “Polio has been gaining ground again in Cote d’Ivoire because many children have not been able to receive the vaccine in recent months due to the crisis,” Herve Ludovic de Lys of UNICEF said. “It is therefore important to catch up with vaccinating as many as possible to prevent children contracting polio and becoming paralysed for life” (5/6).

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