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Côte d'Ivoire: Red Cross helps displaced people

04-03-2011 News Release 11/49

Abidjan / Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire have this week been distributing medical and other supplies to five reception centres housing 500 to 600 people who have fled fighting in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Abobo.

"We're concerned about the deteriorating situation and its effects in humanitarian terms", said Dominique Liengme, head of the ICRC's delegation in Abidjan.

To meet the immediate needs of people forced to leave their homes in a hurry, the Red Cross has been distributing basic medical supplies, particularly those needed to treat people injured in the fighting, and other items such as soap and cooking utensils.

Today, supplies were delivered to Saint-Ambroise Jubilé d'Angré Church, the Adjamé social centre and the Yopougon Protestant centre. On Tuesday, medical supplies were furnished to the Anyama clinic, and there are plans to deliver essential items to the Catholic mission and two mosques in Anyama as soon as security conditions allow.

Though no precise figures are available, the fighting of recent days has driven thousands of people from their homes. Most are staying with relatives, but many are being housed at crowded centres.

Once clashes have died down, the Red Cross has been able to come quickly to the aid of those in need thanks to safety guarantees given by all sides and passes issued by the security forces, enabling Red Cross vehicles to cross checkpoints.

"We're assisting all those affected by the fighting, whoever they may be," said Théophile Kouamé, acting secretary-general of the Ivorian Red Cross. "We must be allowed to carry out our duties."

Since the crisis began in December, the Red Cross has been working to help people displaced in central and western Côte d'Ivoire as well as some 60,000 Ivorians who have fled across the border into Liberia.

The ICRC is concentrating primarily on meeting the most pressing needs of displaced people and helping them restore contact with their loved ones.

For further information, please contact:
Sébastien Brack, ICRC Abidjan, tel. +225 080 84 975
Noora Kero, ICRC Monrovia, tel. +231 651 99 67  or  +231 77 55 65 33
Olga Miltcheva, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 79 536 92 32



4 March 2011. Civilians fleing the fighting near Abidjan
© Reuters / L. Gnago