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Côte d’Ivoire: emergency aid reaches the ruined town of Toulepleu

25-03-2011 News Release 11/73

Geneva/Abidjan (ICRC) – The ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire have begun providing emergency aid for the people of Toulepleu, a town in western Côte d’Ivoire hard-hit by the conflict.

Before the fighting started, Toulepleu had a population of between 40,000 and 50,000. Today, just 3,000 people remain in or near the town. Everyone else has fled, either to the surrounding area or into Liberia.

“Those families that have stayed in Toulepleu have no food, water or electricity, and there is no medical care,” explained Dominique Liengme, the head of the ICRC delegation in Abidjan. “The town is in ruins. Not a single house has been spared. The hospital is abandoned and has been looted.”

The ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire are currently setting up a health post, which will provide emergency care until the hospital is back in operation. In addition, the ICRC is currently moving 15 tonnes of rice, 5 tonnes of beans and 2,500 litres of oil to Toulepleu, along with iodine-enriched salt, for distribution to the families who have remained behind.

The idea is both to meet the most urgent needs of those who have stayed in the town and to make it possible for those who have fled to return. Working with a team from the Ivorian electricity board, the ICRC has restored electricity to the southern part of Toulepleu, which is where the hospital is located.

“It will be a few more days before power comes back on in the north of the town,” explained Ms Liengme. “When it does, it will be possible to start pumping drinking water again, and people will feel safer.”

Meanwhile, the ICRC continues to focus on needs in Abidjan, especially those of displaced persons. Today, 500 people in a reception centre in Abobo received a delivery of soap and bleach, while the health post handed out dressing kits. The ICRC is assessing the situation at other locations in Abidjan.

For further information, please contact:
Kelnor Panglungtshang, ICRC Abidjan, tel: +225 09 399 404
Steven Anderson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 20 11 or +41 79 536 92 50


Photos

Angré, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Displaced persons from Abobo at the centre set up at St Ambroise Jubilé Church. 

Angré, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Displaced persons from Abobo at the centre set up at St Ambroise Jubilé Church.
© ICRC / T. Gouegnon