Cote d'Ivoire: Tens of Thousands Remain Displaced in Western Côte d'Ivoire Despite End of Political Crisis

Despite improving security in Côte d'Ivoire following the end of the post-election crisis, latest IOM figures on internal displacement show while many of the displaced in the west of the country have returned to home villages, tens of thousands still remain displaced in camps.

Preliminary figures based on an IOM assessment carried out in mid-June show the numbers of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in western Côte d'Ivoire now stand at 29,434, scattered in 10 camps managed and coordinated by the Organization.

At the height of the emergency, more than 45,000 persons were seeking refuge in camps and religious missions situated in the towns of Guiglo and Douékoué.

The Catholic Mission in Douékoué, which at one time alone was housing more than 27,500 IDPs sleeping in the open without adequate food or water, is still sheltering the largest group of 18,000.

Other largest concentration of the remaining IDPs is at Guiglo's Nazareth Church where 3,500 IDPs are still taking refuge.

The IOM assessment team say that although many of the IDPs are willing to return to their home villages, they are discouraged by prevailing security conditions in some areas of the region and because they have no home to return to. Some have had their homes destroyed in the conflict while others have had theirs occupied.

The findings of the assessment will be used by IOM and partner organizations such as UNICEF, UNHCR and WFP to plan food, transport, medical and health assistance for those who wish to return to their homes.

Elsewhere in the country, IOM will be helping hundreds of Burkinabé nationals displaced in the Adzopé region, north of Abidjan.

The Burkinabés were victims of ethnic attacks against their villages at the height of the political crisis in the country earlier this year, and have been displaced since. The group are requesting building materials to reconstruct their homes.

More than 700 people are also displaced in the Eastern region of the country, near the border with Ghana following last month's ethnic-related attacks in the area. This had forced thousands of people to flee, some into Ghana.

Noting a continued and heavy presence of security personnel in the area, an IOM assessment mission to the area last week identified 711 IDPs in border town of Noé, seeking shelter with host families.

These and other IOM efforts to alleviate some of the worst suffering among IDPs in Côte d'Ivoire, will be boosted by additional pledges of AUD 500,000 from the Australian government and EUR 700,000 from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) department.

In March IOM appealed for US$ 41.6 million to provide urgently needed aid to thousands escaping the violence in Côte d'Ivoire and to avert a looming humanitarian catastrophe and to date has received USD 2.5million.

Although the situation in the country is generally calmer, the immediate and long-term needs of the displaced remain. Those wishing to return home not only need a new home, but also livestock, seeds and tools with which to work the land.

Additional funding is also needed to evacuate hundreds of Guinean conflict-affected families back home. IOM has been requested by the Guinean Embassy to assist them but so far has not been able to due to lack of funding.

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