UN humanitarian chief concerned about deteriorating situation in Cote d'Ivoire

09:19, March 25, 2011      

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The head of the UN humanitarian aid division said on Thursday that she is alarmed at the deteriorating situation in Cote d'Ivoire.

"The escalation of violence and use of heavy weaponry, particularly in urban areas, is taking an increasing toll on civilians," Valerie Amos, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said in a news release from her office here. "I am also concerned about the increasing targeting and harassment of immigrants from other parts of West Africa, thousands of whom are fleeing the country. The destruction of civilian property, including shops that provide people a way of making a living, is also completely unacceptable."

The current crisis in Cote d'Ivoire began when a runoff presidential election last year was contested by Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to let his opponent and the election's internationally recognized winner, Alassane Ouattara take office. Forces loyal to Gbagbo have attacked civilians and UN peacekeepers, killing more than 460 people and displacing an estimated 500,000, causing them to become internally displaced persons (IDPs) or refugees in countries like Liberia.

Amos also called on parties to the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire to allow humanitarian actors in the country to complete their work safely.

"In such a situation, the ongoing harassment and obstruction of aid workers from NGOs and the UN, the violation of UN humanitarian premises, and the theft of assets of aid agencies, seriously compromise the ability of aid workers to reach people who require assistance," she said.

She also reported that the UN has allocated 10.4 million U.S. dollars from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to Cote d'Ivoire.

Source: Xinhua
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