Worsening violence in Cote d’Ivoire and its alarming impact on children.

UNICEF continues to be gravely concerned by the ongoing violence in Cote d’Ivoire and its alarming impact on children.

Abidjan's Abobo district in Côte d’Ivoire
Fighters patrol a street in northern Abidjan's Abobo district in Côte d’Ivoire. UNICEF requires immediate funds to assist children and families caught up in the political crisis. UNICEF Image © REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Thousands of civilians remain stranded in their homes in Abidjan with limited or no access to food and water, and
UNICEF is receiving reports of wounded people, including children, brought in for medical treatment in IDP camps in Abidjan. But medical supplies are short.

Most cities in Ivory Coast risk being without water from Sunday 10 April, as 8 water districts are left with water treatment products for only 3 more days. Humanitarian access and security for humanitarian aid workers continue to be major constraints in order to provide humanitarian assistance in Abidjan.

In the West, UNICEF’s teams are supporting the provision of water and sanitation reaching about 80% of the displaced people, including in Duekoue, Man and Bouake but more needs to be done. We are also distributing nutritional supplements and essential medicines as well as essential supplies such as mats, buckets and hygiene kits. Access is possible but fragile.

In Abidjan, all our staff is locked in the UNICEF compound and receive calls for help but are unable to respond. Running water is cut in Abidjan and risk of epidemics is thus heightened. Immediate needs are clean water, medical supplies, health care, sanitation and food. We have secured one airfreight of essential supplies to be airlift as soon as conditions allow it. On Friday 8 April, UNICEF and the ONUCI/ JORBAT started making plans to assist IDPs and health centers reaching out to close to potentially 3000 persons in need of medical care.

UNICEF’s efforts are hindered by the insecurity and the lack of access.  The risks tochildren now go beyond immediate concerns about water and food and the fear they must be feeling. In these conditions there is a real and imminent threat of disease outbreak and we have to have the right conditions to be able to access populations. We are also very concerned that armed groups will recruit young people and this must not be allowed to happen.