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Thousands of Ivoirians flee political crisis

5th January 2011 Posted in: Emergencies
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UNICEF is gearing up to respond to an unfolding humanitarian emergency in Côte d’Ivoire as thousands of people flee post-election violence.

Up to 25,000 people – most of them women and children – are estimated to have already fled from Côte d’Ivoire into neighbouring countries. As many as 2.4 million people in Côte d’Ivoire and surrounding countries of Liberia, Guinea, Maili, Burkina Faso and Ghana are expected to be affected.

UNICEF requires $26.2 million over the next three months to respond to the needs of children and women caught up in the crisis.

Wonyen Basee (12) describes her family’s ordeal – a three-day walk through the bush and across the border into Liberia – in the wake of violence that has followed the presidential run-off in her native Côte d’Ivoire in November.

Wonyen is among the thousands of Ivoirians – most of them children and women – who have fled since the election.

“There were many people walking with us. We ran away because we were afraid that the rebels would come to beat us,” she says.

UNICEF is coordinating the crisis response for nutrition, water and sanitation, child protection and education, in partnership with government ministries, other UN agencies and partner organisations. Children are already very vulnerable to malnutrition in Côte d’Ivoire, with displacement putting thousands at risk of yellow fever, measles and meningitis epidemics.

UNICEF is providing emergency supplies such as water containers, water purification tablets, and soap, and is pre-positioning other emergency supplies throughout the region.

How you can help
Donate to UNICEF NZ's Emergency Fund