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February 8, 11

NEWS / UN agency stocking up aid to assist Cote dIvoires displaced

8 February 2011 – The United Nations refugee agency said today has begun delivering more supplies of relief aid to Côte d’Ivoire for distribution to tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled their homes due to tensions and violence related to last year’s presidential election.

A plane chartered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) flew from the city of Liège in Belgium carrying 2,450 tents from the agency’s emergency stockpile in Copenhagen and a convoy of trucks is transporting 93 tons of relief aid from Accra, the capital of Ghana, to Abidjan, the Ivorian commercial capital.

The supplies will initially be stored in a UNHCR warehouse in northern Abidjan, according to Andrej Mahecic, the UNHCR spokesperson in Geneva.

The tents will provide shelter for up to 12,000 people, while the road convoy will deliver thousands of blankets, mats, mosquito nets, kitchen sets and other basic items.

“Our teams in western Côte d’Ivoire have so far registered close to 31,000 internally displaced people,” said Mr. Mahecic, adding that most of the IDPs are in Duékoué district where some 22,000 people are being accommodated in religious missions, spontaneous settlements or hosted by communities in surrounding villages.

“We are working together with the authorities to identify a site in the vicinity of Duékoué to establish a camp for these IDPs,” he told a news conference in Geneva. Other IDPs are staying with host families in churches and schools in the districts of Man, Danané, Binhouye, Zouhanhouin and Guiglo.

An inter-agency needs assessment mission has also identified groups of IDPs in villages along Côte d’Ivoire’s border with Liberia.

Most IDPs in the western districts of the country were displaced in early January when ethnic tension and violence intensified following the presidential polls.

Côte d’Ivoire has been in turmoil since early December when outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo refused leave office despite opposition leader Alassane Ouattara’s UN-certified victory in November’s run-off election. Mr. Ouattara, who has set up base in the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, has been recognized by the international community as the West African country’s duly elected president.




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