Stalemate pummels health, rights, livelihoods, UN says

A woman selling in Abidjan
(Monica Mark/IRIN)

Amid rampant killings and economic paralysis, residents in parts of Côte d’Ivoire’s commercial capital Abidjan are eating “whatever they can find”, and have not worked in weeks, a youth in the northern district of Anyama told IRIN.

The post-electoral deadlock is eroding families’ food reserves, robbing children of a school year and bringing an already struggling health system to near-collapse, according to a report by the UN team in Côte d’Ivoire.

“If we even had any money saved, we can’t get at it with the banks closed,” a resident of Yopougon said. “We’re completely choked.”

The local NGO Cavoequiva (‘let’s unite’ in Gouro) provides medicines and other assistance to street children.

“But medicines and money have run out.” Irié Bi Tra Clément, the NGO’s founder, told IRIN. “I’ve already seen a lot of people die for lack of medicines. If this keeps up for even two or three more weeks, I’m telling you many more are going to die.

“This is not a life – what we’re doing in Côte d’Ivoire today, this is not living. And it’s not a question of one camp or the other; everyone’s suffering.”

Findings in the UN report include:

-Many medical facilities in the north and west have shut down;

-The state pharmacy system is at risk of collapse;

-Some 800,000 children have been out of school for months, with no sign of when they will be able to return;

-In the west, where thousands of people are displaced, current estimates show that for many families food reserves from the November-January harvest will last about two or three months, compared to the usual five to seven;

-Rubbish is overflowing everywhere, posing the risk of cholera, typhoid, yellow fever and other illnesses;

-HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programmes have been severely disrupted, threatening gains the country has made in the last five years.


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