Netherlands, US Boost UN Resources for Ivorian Refugees

The Netherlands and the U.S. have committed funds for United Nations relief agencies working to aid those affected by the political violence in Ivory Coast.

UNICEF is appealing for $51 million to help meet the increasing needs of children and families affected by the crisis, which stemmed from incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to hand over power to United Nations-backed winner of November elections, Alassane Ouattara. It estimates that children and women make up at least 60 percent of Ivorians internally displaced by the violence as well as the vast majority of the 90,000 who have fled to neighboring Liberia. 

“With the increased violence the last 10 days, we are beginning to see more challenges in terms of having access to those vulnerable population and also we are facing a new challenge which is that the social infrastructure which was supposed to respond to the humanitarian crisis, is itself very weak,” Voice of America quotes Ndolamb Ngokwey, the global agency’s humanitarian coordinator for Ivory Coast, as saying. “And finally, additional funding is needed so that the magnitude and scale of this crisis can be dealt with.”

The Dutch government is contributing €1 million ($1.4 million) to UNICEF to help the agency provide food, safe drinking water, medical assistance and hygiene supplies to displaced Ivorian mothers and children.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, meanwhile, had approved a total of $12 million for the World Food Program’s operations benefiting internally displaced Ivorians and Ivorian refugees in Liberia, according to a March 18 statement of the State Department.

Ma. Rizza Leonzon contributed reporting.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.