Côte dIvoire unrest rising ethnic tensions hampering aid deliveries UN

The agency’s office in Abidjan says that vulnerable populations are further endangered by shortages of food and basic services, such as health care. Security remains very poor outside the main towns and away from the main roads in the west. The nutritional situation is particularly alarming, with high rates of malnutrition reported in the area. Tensions have also been heightened recently in Côte d’Ivoire due to the arrest of Ibrahim Coulibaly in France, accused of plotting the assassination of President Laurent Gbagbo. The Forces Nouvelles have demanded his release. Although Forces Nouvelles ministers remain a part of the National Government of Reconciliation – established under the French-brokered Linas-Marcoussis Agreement last January — a debate on who should fill the key, unoccupied posts of Defence and Interior ministers continues. OCHA also reports that local chiefs in western Côte d’Ivoire are ordering the expulsion of Ivorians not native to the area, and immigrant workers of various West African nationalities, from villages around Toulepleu, Zouan Hounien, Guiglo and Duekoue. Bands of youths are reported to be terrorizing the harassing immigrants. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has received unconfirmed reports of clashes on the Guiglo/ Blolequin axis as Burkinabés attempt to reclaim their fields.Erratic and generally below average rainfall in Côte d’Ivoire is aggravating the current climate of food insecurity. During the fighting in the west, farmers were unable to tend their fields and were forced to eat their seed stocks to survive, while looters stole agricultural tools and food stocks. This has left many farmers in an impossible situation, without food, seeds or agricultural implements to restart cultivation. In response, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has started distributing seed in the areas of Zouan Hounien and Bin Houyé. Funding shortfalls also hinder the efforts of aid agencies in Côte D’Ivoire. Several sectors remain under-funded. At least four UN Agencies, World Health Organization (WHO), UN Population Find (UNFPA), the FAO, and the Joint UN Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) report that they have not yet received any funding under the most recent appeal for the country. read more