Saturday, May 07, 2011

Humanitarian Aid Needed After Ivorian Crisis

In Cote d'Ivoire the post-electoral crisis has ended, but thousands of civilians are still suffering from the months of conflict that has left the country in unrest. In 2010 both President Laurent Gbagbo and his opposing candidate Alassane Ouattara claimed victory in the election. Negotiations failed and the situation in the Ivory Coast became increasingly violent, leading to the country's second civil war.

Four months of turmoil have engulfed this African nation and the UN has declared that increased humanitarian aid is needed. UN aid officials have estimated that a millions have fled their homes and 100,000 have crossed in Liberia to flee the conflict zone. Thousands of civilians have also been killed in what many have declared a mass human rights violation. There are reports of massacres and mass graves.

The crisis ended early this month when Laurent Gbagbo finally surrendered and while fighting has slowed the UN relief officials say that there remain ongoing security threats, difficulties in access to health essentials, education and sanitation services. The population is becoming increasingly vulnerable. The priority needs in the area are the distribution of tarpaulin, kitchen utensils, mats and other non-food items. The presence of arms and the risk of sexual abuse also require attention.

UN agencies and partners have launched an appeal for $160 million to provide food security, nutrition, education, protection, water, health care and sanitation to as many as 2 million people throughout the Ivory Coast.

--Gabrielle Gurian