Update on ICRC activities in Côte d'Ivoire – January to August 2005
01-08-2005 Operational Update
In a context of continued tension punctuated by outbursts of violence, the ICRC supports the efforts of the civilian population to get on with their lives in as normal an environment as possible.
The ICRC helps the authorities to provide essential services such as water and health care, often in cooperation with the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire.
During clashes in the Duékoué region in May, the ICRC took part in evacuating the seriously injured to Daloa regional hospital, where a pre-positioned kit for 100 war-wounded could be used to provide immediate free treatment. In addition, volunteers from the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire evacuated and administered first aid to over 200 wounded and provided staff support to Duékoué hospital. The ICRC gave the hospital two first-aid kits for 200 war-wounded. It also supplied the Catholic mission with basic medicines for 6,000 displaced persons, mainly women and children, who were sheltering in its compound.
The ICRC provided the Public Health Pharmacy in Abidjan with regular medical supplies for seven hospitals: Korhogo, Ferféssédougou, Katiola, Odiénné, Seguéla, Touba and Dabakala. Similarly, 86 health centres in the north of the country were able to keep working without running out of medicines since the start of the year. At the end of March UNICEF took over the management of these centres.
To improve access to basic health care for the population of the Danané region, t he ICRC continued to rehabilitate and equip 28 health posts run by the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire. In June, 56 community health-care workers attended a training course coordinated by the medical team from the ICRC's sub-delegation in Man.
Emergency distributions and support for institutions
Following the violence in Guitrozon and Petit-Duékoué at the beginning of June, the ICRC set up emergency shelters for over 3,000 displaced persons in the compound of the Catholic mission in Duékoué. It also provided the mission with enough emergency relief kits (containing pieces of cloth, matting, kitchen equipment and hygiene items) for 500 families. Displaced persons who had returned to their homes or had found shelter in centres in the west and the centre of the country also received basic assistance.
Fourteen institutions caring for the most vulnerable (handicapped, orphans, mentally ill) in the regions of Man and Bouaké continued to benefit from ICRC food assistance. They received a total of 67,800 kilos of rice, 1,260 kilos of salt, 11,300 litres of oil and 22,300 kilos of beans each month.
Water and habitat
Around a million and a half people in 80 towns in the north and west of the country were supplied with drinking water daily. The ICRC gave over 450 tonnes of water-treatment chemicals to the water board (SODECI). One of the water-pumping and treatment plants supported by the ICRC, in Loka, produces 15 million litres of water per day, thus covering part of the needs of Bouaké town's 475,000 consumers.
- Thanks to emergency interventions by the ICRC, the population of Korhogo and Katiola was able to cope with water shortages resulting from the late rainy season coupled with excessive consumption. In Korhogo, the ICRC set up three temporary plants for the t reatment, storage and distribution of drinking water. Meanwhile, it enabled the 56,000 inhabitants of Katiola to regain access to water supplies, which had been cut for three weeks in May, by rehabilitating a bore-hole, repairing the delivery pipe and installing a new pump for feeding water to the treatment plant.
Re-establishing family links
In all conflict situations, and often after the end of hostilities, the ICRC's tracing agency strives to re-establish links between family members torn apart as a result of the violence. Particular importance is given to the issue of children who have been separated from their families.
2,800 Red Cross messages were collected in the countries covered by the regional delegation and 3,250 messages were distributed.
ICRC teams in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana continued to follow up the cases of over 150 Liberian children separated from their families. The organization also continued to trace the relatives of 88 children of Ivorian origin living in Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Guinea and Ghana.
20 children were reunited with their families, after separation during the conflicts in Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia.
People deprived of their freedom
It is vital to ensure that the human dignity of people deprived of their freedom is preserved in all circumstances. Promoting respect for this guarantee is part of the ICRC's mission.
ICRC delegates monitored over 470 detainees individually across the whole territory of Côte d'Ivoire during more than 120 visits to places of detention (prisons, military camps, police stations and places of temporary of detention).
Promotion of international humanitarian law
Promoting international humanitarian law (IHL) among bearers of weapons is another main task of the ICRC. It also supports all those who are trying to prevent suffering as a result of violence, in particular by encouraging States to adopt the necessary legal texts and assisting them in this process.
During the first six months of 2005, the ICRC organized 66 dissemination sessions for over 3,200 members of the defence and security forces, the Forces Nouvelles, militias and international troops. Topics covered included the role of the ICRC and its activities in Côte d'Ivoire, the protection needs of the civilian population and the responsibilities of weapon bearers under IHL.
The ICRC organized a symposium on the protection of the red cross emblem and an information day at the Ivorian parliament to promote implementation of IHL. It also held training sessions for members of the interministerial committee for implementation of IHL and the Centre for Action and Research for Peace (Institute for Human Dignity and Rights), with magistrates, lawyers and research students among the participants.
The ICRC held information sessions for the leadership of the Federation of Students and Pupils of Côte d'Ivoire (FESCI), the Young Patriots and self-defence groups in the centre-west of the country. The ICRC's activities and working methods and the basic rules of IHL were among the issues covered.
The general public was kept up to date on the activities of the ICRC by means of press releases and radio and TV broadcasts. During a workshop, 25 journalists from the north learned about the ICRC's mandate and activities and the principles of IHL.
- As part of the ongoing process of integrating IHL into teaching programmes (grades 6 to 9) in Côte d'Ivoire, in March some 80 teachers involved in the trial phase of the Exploring Humanitarian Law programme attended an evaluation workshop.
Cooperation with the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire
During health-education campaigns in the towns of Marcory, Koumassi, Boundiali, San-Pédro, and Danané, over 100 volunteers took part in activities aimed at spreading knowledge of Red Cross principles and ideals. Events organized included free consultations, clearing of gutters and home visits to give hygiene advice and check vaccination booklets.
- The Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire pursued its policy of training its members and organized sessions on first aid, the Movement and restoring family links for hundreds of volunteers.
The National Society reviewed its contingency plan in preparation for the forthcoming elections and trained 18 heads of brigade and relief officers from 18 local committees on the details of the plan and how to implement it.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has the role of lead agency for the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Côte d'Ivoire. It coordinates the activities of the different components of the Movement and cooperates actively with the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire. A total of 40 expatriate delegates and 164 national staff work at the ICRC's offices in Abidjan, Korhogo, Bouaké, Man and Gagnoa.