While the capture of ousted Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo has restored some hope that the conflict plaguing the country will be resolved, the humanitarian crisis created by four months of violence, looting and displacement is not going to ease overnight. More than one million people have fled their homes and are surviving in the open forest, living in overcrowded conditions in poor villages, or relying on local communities in neighbouring Liberia. Many are too scared to return home.
“Oxfam is gearing up for a long-term humanitarian emergency and potential public health disaster,” says Regional Humanitarian Coordinator Philippe Conraud in Ivory Coast. “The fall out of the past four months will be felt for a long time to come. Refugees need lifesaving aid immediately and support to help rebuild their lives over the coming months.”
Stories of the traumatic experiences endured by many refugees continue to emerge: a widowed mother of three sleeping under an ineffectual bamboo shelter with 20 of her extended family; a man whose house was burnt and his brothers killed by rebels; 80 people taking refuge under one roof.
In her latest podcasts from the Liberian border town of Harper, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Press Officer Caroline Gluck shares some of these stories.
Read more about the current situation in Ivory Coast and what we’re doing to help