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Côte d'Ivoire: ICRC assists vulnerable people in regions devastated by the crisis

02-12-2009 Operational Update

Côte d'Ivoire, while relatively stable, is still suffering the aftermath of the 2002 political crisis. The ICRC is continuing to work in behalf of the most vulnerable, namely civilians in the west and the north of the country, and detainees. Overview of the Abidjan delegation's activities in 2009 to date.

Overall, the security situation in Côte d’Ivoire remains calm. There have been some incidents linked to land access, which have not however led to any mass population movements. In the regions that were severely affected by the 2002 crisis, basic social services are still not fully up and running and are therefore not meeting the needs of displaced people who have decided to return home. Elections were to be held in November but they have been postponed to a later, as yet unknown, date.

In this context, the ICRC is continuing to assist vulnerable people in the west and north of the country, to visit detainees, and to promote international humanitarian law around the country.

 Helping improve conditions of detention  

The ICRC has made representations to the authorities with the aim of improving the conditions of detention for people deprived of their liberty. In addition to carrying out regular visits, the ICRC has provided medical and nutritional support in some places of detention, helped detainees keep in touch with their families, and supported programmes to improve sanitation and distribute hygiene articles in several detention centres.

 Guaranteeing vulnerable communities the resources for sustainable living  

As Côte d'Ivoire is gradually returning to normal, the ICRC has developed more structured assistance programmes, involving in particular the distribution of seed and hoes so that vulnerable returnees and residents in regions affected by the crisis are able to resume the ir agricultural activities more easily.

Since the beginning of the year, in cooperation with the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire, the ICRC has distributed 175 tonnes of rice and maize seed, 750 tonnes of fertilizer and 2,000 hoes to 50,000 people living in 237 villages in the north, north-east and north-west of the country. This has helped build up beneficiaries’ seed reserves, providing them with substantial resources.

 Improving access to clean drinking water and reducing the risk of water-borne illnesses  

The ICRC is carrying out drainage work and building facilities in a number of villages in Côte d'Ivoire. It is also raising awareness of basic hygiene rules to reduce the risk of epidemics. To date, this project has benefited 22,000 inhabitants in 15 towns. In addition, the ICRC repairs and builds tap stands in deprived neighbourhoods of densely populated urban areas.

 Promoting international humanitarian law (IHL) and universal humanitarian principles  

During this period of calm, the ICRC has been able to deliver more IHL awareness sessions among the security and defence forces, militia groups, local authorities, the media, political youth movements, the student federation of Côte d'Ivoire, and the general public.

    

 Boosting the capacities of National Red Cross Societies in the region  

The ICRC continues to support the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire, in particular concerning first aid and the dissemination of international humanitarian law. It has provided financial and technical support for volunteer training, with the aim of imp roving volunteers’ capacity to take action in behalf of vulnerable people. The regional delegation of the ICRC in Abidjan also supports, when necessary, the National Societies of other countries in the region. In cooperation with the Burkinabé Red Cross Society, the ICRC distributed emergency aid to 5,000 people affected by the floods in Ouagadougou in September 2009.