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Côte d'Ivoire: More than 9,000 displaced persons receive assistance

25-11-1999 News Release 99/47

In recent weeks the ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire have provided emergency assistance for more than 9,000 displaced persons gathered in four locations in the region of Bas-Cavally (south-west). In early November a land dispute sparked clashes between communities of indigenous Kroumen, who are in the majority in this region, and ethnic Lobi and Dangaré immigrants. Over 15,000 farmers and agricultural labourers, mainly from Burkina Faso, were forced to flee their homes. Nearly two thirds of the those receiving assistance are children.

The assistance is being distributed on the spot by the Côte d'Ivoire Red Cross. It includes tarpaulins, mats and blankets and is meant to provide shelter, one of the most pressing needs. Five tonnes of food have been delivered as well. The food aid, which is sufficient to last 10 days, will be renewed if necessary.

A large number of displaced persons have sought refuge in Tabou and Grabo, the region's main cities. In the absence of any official arrangements for receiving these people, the local branches of the Côte d'Ivoire Red Cross have established a presence in four locations. From these transit centres, several thousand people have already returned to Burkina Faso. Other displaced persons are currently concentrated in the region's urban areas.