General News Sat, 1 Feb 2003

About 600,000 displaced in Cote d'Ivoire crisis

600,000 persons have been displaced in Cote d'Ivoire during the four-month-old crisis with an almost equal number in danger of losing their livelihood, a UN envoy said on Thursday.

The crisis has torn the country apart and threatens to cause more havoc, as the government appears to be ready to tear up the Paris agreement reached less than a week go.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, Ms Carolyn McAskie, UN Secretary-General's Humanitarian Envoy for the Crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, said the humanitarian situation is in such a bad state that it has broken communication links across government and rebel areas, making it impossible for supplies to reach the population.

She said employment in northern Cote D'Ivoire has virtually come to a halt, adding that community and health centres have been closed putting health needs beyond the reach of citizens.

"This has resulted in the outbreak of epidemics and increasing cases of cholera and meningitis in certain parts of the country. The fear is that the humanitarian situation could get worse."

Ms McAskie said the UN is very worried about the disruption to health, education and commercial activities in the region that accounts for 40 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP) of the Franc Zone.

"The situation is much worse for people living in the economic margins who have no resources whatsoever to fall on," she added.

Ms McAskie appealed to donor partners to support Ghana and other countries who would be receiving refugees or having negative impact on their economies as a result of the crisis.

"Ghana needs help to take care of people crossing her borders, refugees seeking asylum in the country, and efforts to complement her efforts to organise and deal with the problem on hand. She needs help, no matter how modest."

On the deployment of peacekeepers, Ms McAskie said no formal decision had been taken, adding that it was still early.

"However, a technical mission would be in Cote d'Ivoire to provide an exploratory report after which the Secretary-General will decide on what action to take," she said.


Source: GNA
Related Articles: