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5/9/2011 - Spain - Still 10,000 refugees in the Duékoué mission

(ANS – Madrid) – “Insecurity has increased in recent months. There are still many guns on the streets and armed attacks on houses and on people take place in day light hours. People are afraid”. This is the latest news from Fr Cesar Fernández,  a Salesian missionary reporting on the situation in the Ivory Coast after Alassane Ouattara came to power following months of armed struggle and several years of conflict. The Salesian Missions report that to help ease the problems they have sent over  60,000 euro to the Ivory Coast.

“The economy of the country has been greatly affected by the current  crisis. The price of food continues to rise  and many people have lost their jobs. Many are hungry because they cannot get food” Fr Fernández says. “To this has to be added the corruption from which the country suffers. It is difficult to conduct any official business and even to travel in the Ivory Coast, without ‘paying for it’. Certainly this is something quite common in Africa, but until now it was not so in the Ivory Coast.”

In Abidjan, commercial capital of the country, “things are progressing slowly. Some wounds are being healed, but it is still difficult for people to live together peacefully since there is so much resentment and a desire for revenge” the Salesian adds. In Duékoué “in the Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus Salesian mission there are still 10,000 refugees. Displaced people are returning home only very slowly and many of them have no where to go and so they are staying where they are.”

The Salesian Missions are trying to do what they can in the education and formation of the young to bring them out of the crisis. In the Ivory Coast, the missions in Abidjan, Korhogo and Duékoué are trying to continue their work with street children, offering them an education which will make them into citizens aware of their rights and of their duties.

The level of the emergency in the Ivory Coast has come down. “However the most difficult part has still to be achieved: putting the country on its feet again; overcoming what has happened and looking ahead with hope” Fr Fernández concludes.

Published 05/09/2011

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