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13/5/2011 - Ivory Coast - Unresolved problems
(ANS – Abidjan) - It’s almost a month since an urgent appeal went out from the Salesians to the international community,  but little has changed for the refugees from Duékoué and the whole population of the Ivory Coast. The “St Teresa of he Child Jesus” mission is still crammed with people and throughout the country there is a state of insecurity.

The victory of Ouattara over Gbabgo marked a formal ending of armed conflict between the two factions and opened the way for a more stable political process, but the people are still very fearful of possible reprisals and attacks, given that the period of conflict brought about a deep rift between the rival supporters of the two presidents.

As a consequence of this state of fear and the inertia of the international community there are still around 30,000 people crowding into the Salesian centre at Duékoué, a place that in theory has a capacity for no more than 8,000 people standing! Some of them lost their home during the conflict and so are forced to remain at the mission. Many others, however, still have a home and during the day they go out of the centre, but through fear of being alone during the night hours they come back to sleep at the mission.

The refugee camp that the Salesians demanded to International Agencies for displaced persons, which would guarantee a minimum of hygiene, is still not provided, and no one knows when it will be up and running. There are only two Salesians at the Duékoué mission at present, and in no way can they respond to the enormous needs of so many desperate people.

At the capital, Abidjan, where the Vice-province has its provincial house, the situation is less problematic. Some work for young people has been restarted and is picking up slowly. However, fear is widespread among the population and there is a dread that violence could break out again at any moment.

Published 13/05/2011

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