Côte d'Ivoire: over 36,000 people receive aid in forgotten area
31-05-2011 News Release 11/124
Geneva/Abidjan (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire today began to distribute food, seed and other emergency aid in 35 villages east of Bangolo, in the western part of the country. Nearly 20,000 people displaced by fighting, other violence and looting over the past few months and some 17,000 members of host families will receive the aid.
"Many of the people we are helping have lost a close relative or have been traumatized by what they experienced," said Grégoire Castella, in charge of ICRC activities in the area. "The displaced people remain apprehensive about returning to their home areas. Some say they lost everything in the looting."
Roads in the Bangolo area, in the former "confidence zone" dividing the northern and southern parts of the country, are often almost impassable. "This area is somewhat forgotten, as access is difficult and local people are rather wary of international organizations," said Mr Castella. "But the need for humanitarian aid is considerable."
Over 220 tonnes of rice, 45 tonnes of beans, 22,000 litres of oil, 2,300 kilograms of salt and 3,000 kits containing such essential items as tarpaulins, sleeping mats, soap, kitchen utensils and buckets will be distributed over the next fortnight. In addition to this emergency aid, the Red Cross is also providing around 100 tonnes of rice seed, 50 tonnes of maize seed and 6,000 hoes to help enhance food security. Similar items were already distributed in 13 villages in the area last February.
"We accommodated close relatives, but also many people who simply didn't know where to go, including many women and children," said a prominent citizen of the village of Péhai, some 10 kilometres from Bangolo.
"We don't have much left in our larders, but it's hard to deny hospitality to someone – especially to women and children who have nothing left," added the head of a family that had taken in displaced people in Guéhouo.
In several parts of western Côte d'Ivoire, especially near the border with Liberia, the ICRC and the Ivorian Red Cross are still among the only humanitarian organizations able to reach the victims on a regular basis without military escorts.
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