Côte d’Ivoire Emergency: request of Support for the Victims of the Humanitarian Crisis

Project location: CôTE D'IVOIRE
Project start date: July 2011 - Project end date: October 2011
Project number: 2011-06
Beneficiary: UNHCR


In the aftermath of presidential elections at the end of November 2010, Côte d'Ivoire, in particular in the west, was shaken by an unprecedented socio-political crisis that triggered massive population displacement both internally and externally. At the height of the crisis, an estimated 2 million people were displaced internally and well over 200.000 Ivorians had fled to 13 neighboring countries, primarily to Liberia. As the political deadlock has continued, the security situation sharply deteriorated in many parts of the country, as was the humanitarian situation. Furthermore Côte d'Ivoire also hosted some 24,000 Liberian refugees, many of whom felt at risk. On 19 March, UNHCR started the airlift of Liberian refugees back to their country. From November 2010 to March 2011 UNHCR had already registered more than 86,000 Ivorian refugees who had left their country, living in 76 host communities in Liberia along the border.
In light of its mandate and considered the previous presence of UNHCR in Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia, UNHCR was one of the first agencies to provide support and primary assistance to the internally and externally displaced people.
The activities under the revised emergency plan include protection and registration of refugees, such as: rapid emergency registration; border monitoring and developing local reporting systems; repair of roads and bridges; transport and logistics; procurement, transport and storage of basic relief items; provision of shelter as well as building materials; planning and establishing refugee camps and its facilities, including warehouses; construct transit centres; construction of temporary schools at the camp and building additional class rooms for local primary schools; strengthening basic health care services and referral systems for secondary care in designated villages; organize rapid nutrition assessments; procure supplementary and therapeutic food; increase water supply and treatment capacity; coordination and programme support. In addition to sanitation and waste management activities in the camps, further efforts have been made to limit the impact on the environment.
To assist in the delivery of protection and assistance to the Ivorian refugees UNHCR has concluded agreements with 18 partners.
On October 24th, the total number of Ivorian refugees in Liberia was standing at 156,724.
On 21 October, UNHCR facilitated the first voluntary repatriation convoy for 118 refugees from Liberia to Côte d'Ivoire. The returnees were hosted at the transit center in Toulepleu and then transported to their homes in Zouan-Houien, Danane, Bin-Houye, Toulepleu and Abidjan. All returnees received food and return kits. The convoy marked the commencement of the facilitated voluntary repatriation of Ivorian refugees, within the framework of the Tripartite Agreement among Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and UNHCR.

In Abidjan there are frequent reports of abuse, harassment and violence against civilians, especially in the neighborhoods of Abobo, Yopougon, Anyama and Agboville. In the western region of Man, the situation remains precarious with recurrent violent incidents in the localities of Issia, Guiglo and Bangolo.

The majority of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Abidjan, Aboisso and Agboville are now staying with host families. Over 75% of IDPs have left the established sites. IDPs are increasingly obliged to return to their places of origin or relocate to other IDP sites. After the latest verification exercises, the total number of IDPs in the 36 sites is estimated at 18,455 persons (24th October).

Between 16 and 19 October, UNHCR registered 185 Ivorian returnees from Liberia at the border at Pekan Barrage/Toulepleu. Out of these, 79 had family or ration cards from Liberia, and 109 came without any documentation. The main areas of return in Côte d'Ivoire are Toulepleu, Blolequin, Guiglo and the surrounding villages. In the week before the elections in Liberia, on 11 October, the number of spontaneous returns from Liberia at the three official entry points significantly increased. Between 5 and 9 October, UNHCR had registered 1833 returnees. Most registered returnees arrived at Toulepleu. However, many unregistered returns are taking place at unofficial entry points and can only be retraced in the villages of return. In the region of Tabou, a UNHCR mission assessed spontaneous repatriation movements to the villages of Soublaké and Boubele. Most of the returnees had not been registered as refugees in Liberia. Many cases of spontaneous returns still go unreported. Some returnees would regularly return to Liberia to benefit from food distributions.

The security situation remains calm in the aftermath of the 11 October 2011 residential and legislative elections which were peacefully conducted throughout the country. Activities in the field were scaled down as UNHCR and partners limited their movements during the election period due to anxieties over potential security problems.
Borders in Nimba and other counties were closed by the Government on 10 October and re-opened after the Election Day.

Spontaneous returns of Ivorian refugees from camps and host communities in Liberia to Côte d'Ivoire continue. At the same time, new arrivals were registered in Grand Gedeh and Maryland counties. Between 15 September and 15 October, Ziah Camp received 237 new individuals, mostly from the Tai region. The new arrivals cited security concerns as the reason for their flight to Liberia. The registration of new arrivals is also ongoing in Solo Camp.

Awareness Campaigns
UNHCR and its partners continued to conduct awareness campaigns on HIV/AIDS, health and hygiene. The campaign targeted refugees in the seven camps in Nimba,
Grand Gedeh and Maryland counties, as well as several refugee hosting communities.

In particular, funds received from Foundation Nando Peretti were used to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) according to the needs recorded by the Agency and its partners. In particular to purchase and distribute of 90 tends for 90 families, 90 survival kits (including a sheet, a mattress, a bowl and soap) for 90 families, and 360 blankets.
Considering that families are composed by an average of 4 people, it means that funds allocated by Foundation Nando Peretti allowed reaching a target of around 360 people.

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