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Côte d'Ivoire: security situation prevents many from returning home
International Committee for the Red Cros
3 May 2011
(…) For tens of thousands of displaced people in the west and most refugees in neighbouring Liberia, it is still too dangerous to return home. The Ivorian Red Cross and the ICRC are distributing supplies and food, making drinking water available and supporting medical facilities.
The situation in the west of the country, particularly in the area around Zouan Hounien, Toulepleu and Bloléquin, near the border with Liberia, remains critical. Entire villages were devastated by the conflict, and the needs of residents and displaced people are particularly acute. "In this area, the ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire are still among the only humanitarian organizations able to reach the victims on a regular basis without military escorts," said Dominique Liengme, head of the ICRC delegation in Abidjan. "People returning to their home areas often face a difficult situation and require aid to have their lives back."
"In Abidjan, the gradual improvement in the security situation in most communities over the past fortnight has enabled thousands of displaced people to return home, but large numbers of people are still accommodated in reception centres or with host families," added Ms Liengme. "In particular, persistent tension and violence in the Yopougon community are not only preventing the return of displaced inhabitants but also causing new displacement towards the interior of the country or towards neighbourhoods in Abidjan that are considered safer. The living conditions of the displaced are still very difficult." (…)
(…) "Not only are security conditions in Côte d'Ivoire poor, but because the houses of many refugees have been looted the refugees no longer have tools and seed back home," said Karin Hofmann, head of the ICRC delegation in Liberia. "In these circumstances, returning now would mean missing out on the planting season, with dire consequences." (…)
(…) The ICRC and the Liberian Red Cross continue to help Ivorian children and other refugees to restore contact with their families. In addition, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement partners continue to provide thousands of refugees and host families with safe drinking water in Nimba and Grand Gedeh.(…)
(…) "Many people have been displaced multiple times, from one community in Abidjan to another, in search of safety, with nothing but little sacks in which to carry their meagre belongings," said Ms Liengme. "Occasionally, they have even sought refuge outside the city." (…)
(…) ICRC delegates continue to monitor the conditions in which people arrested in connection with post-election violence or the armed conflict are held, and the treatment they receive, in particular in Bouaké and in two places in Abidjan. Delegates also visit detainees in neighbouring Liberia. (…)

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