Côte d’Ivoire: UN appeal for aid falls far short of needed funds

Ivorians collect food at distribution centre in the west of the country

10 May 2011 – Less than a quarter of the money sought by United Nations agencies in their appeal to deal with the aftermath of the post-electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire have been received so far, with the UN calling on donors to provide an urgent injection of funds.

The UN and its humanitarian partners asked last month for $160 million to tackle food shortages, boost nutrition, education, water and sanitation, health care and protection across the West African country.

Too little funds are being received too slowly, said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Only 22 per cent of the funds sought have been received.

The money sought in the appeal represents a five-fold increase on the request made in January as the scale of the suffering in Côte d’Ivoire became clearer in the wake of the capture of former president Laurent Gbagbo, who had refused to step down despite losing an internationally recognized election to Alassane Ouattara in November last year.

Hundreds of people are confirmed to have been killed in clashes, and the death toll is expected to rise significantly as more areas of the country open up now that the fighting has ended.

UN human rights staff have already located mass graves in a neighbourhood of Abidjan, the country’s largest city, and many deadly clashes have been reported in the west of the nation.

Ms. Byrs said western Côte d’Ivoire remains the focus of many aid agencies, with large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) still living away from their regular homes and towns.

Resources are particularly scarce in this part of the country, the spokesperson added, noting that agencies are now starting to reach many areas previously cut off by the fighting and unrest.

The UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) – which shuttles personnel and aid between Accra, the capital of neighbouring Ghana, with Abidjan and the other Ivorian cities of Man and Bouake – will end on 30 June unless new funds are provided, Ms. Byrs warned.

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