Côte d’Ivoire: Worsening of humanitarian situation as thousands flee Abidjan
Thousands of residents have been fleeing Abidjan since 19 March after Laurent Gbagbo’s youth leader, Charles Blé Goudé, rallied thousands of youth to fight. Bus terminals were crowded with families trying to head to the east and north of the country, which is under the control of the Forces Nouvelles (FN) allied to president-elect Alassane Ouattara. Many more, however, have been unable to flee as transportation costs have risen sharply in recent days. According to the UN, over 500,000 people could be displaced in Abidjan.
Violations of human rights and humanitarian law are escalating alarmingly and are being perpetrated by forces loyal to both camps. According to a report recently published by Human Rights Watch (HRW), violence perpetrated by security forces and militia groups close to Gbagbo in both Abidjan and the west of the country amount to crimes against humanity.
The crisis is having far-reaching humanitarian consequences throughout the country. A shortage of essential medicines, a disrupted farming season and the lack of access to education for hundreds of thousands of children are all having a dangerous impact on the livelihoods of Côte d’Ivoire’s residents. While the country’s emergency humanitarian appeal remains severely under-funded, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated $10.4 million to seven agencies working in Côte d'Ivoire to help meet urgent humanitarian needs.
See also: IDMC Côte d’Ivoire country page
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Nigeria: Thousands displaced in Bauchi and Akwa Ibom States
Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State has been at the centre of inter-communal violence since the beginning of the year. In the latest incident, the burning down of the villages of Gital, Jaja and Yamgam forced hundreds of villagers, especially women and children, to flee. The Nigerian Red Cross has provided aid to people displaced by the violence in the neighbouring villages of Gontakurwa and Bununu.
Inter-communal violence has also caused new displacement in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Youth violence led to the complete destruction of Ayehedia village, forcing its some 3,000 residents to flee. The seven villages that make up the affected area of Mbiabet Ikpe have a long history of land disputes. Meanwhile, election-related violence has been on the increase ahead of the presidential polls scheduled for April.
See also: IDMC Nigeria country page
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Nepal: Government launches plan for children affected by conflict
The Nepal government announced last week that children affected by the Maoist insurgency between 1996 and 2006 would soon benefit from a three-year rehabilitation programme. After an initial data-gathering phase to assess the scale of the problem and identify needs, the National Plan of Action (NPA) for the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Children Affected by Armed Conflict will provide child combatants, displaced children and those who lost their parents with improved access to education, health and psychological care, and vocational skills training. The Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction (MoPR) will implement the plan, while the Prime Minister’s Office, cabinet ministers, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and an unnamed civil society group will all monitor its progress. The MoPR will encourage NGOs to take part in the programme.
Although there are no reliable figures, it is believed that the conflict left at least 40,000 children displaced. In 2009, a children’s rights group estimated their number at nearly 10,000. In 2010, some 50,000 people displaced by the conflict remained unwiling or unable to go home. Between 2007 and 2010, the MoPR provided a lump sum of Npr.2,400 ($34) as “education assistance” to almost 4,800 children.
See also: IDMC Nepal country page
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Japan/earthquake and tsunamis: Overview of resulting displacement
In the aftermath of the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated north-eastern Japan on 11 March, and with ongoing risks posed by the resulting instability of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the country is responding to its worst humanitarian disaster since the Second World War. More than 24,000 people were identified as dead or missing on 23 March, with over 9,400 deaths confirmed. More than 410,000 people were evacuated from the earthquake and tsunami-affected areas where homes and neighbourhoods were destroyed. In addition, almost 84,000 people were evacuated from a 20-kilometre zone around the Fukushima plant.
The location of the people internally displaced has changed fast as evacuees have relocated to unaffected prefectures or moved into larger centres to have greater access to assistance. Freezing temperatures, rain and aftershocks have also worsened their situation. The number of people in evacuation centres in and outside the affected areas dropped from 350,000 in over 2,100 centres on 21 March to 261,000 two days later, but 318,000 people have remained homeless. Information is not yet available about how many people outside these centres require assistance, including those who have been left homeless and are staying with family or friends. IDPs may have to remain in evacuation centres for up to a year while temporary housing is built and vacant public and private apartments are made available.
Priority for temporary housing is being given to families with vulnerable members, including elderly and disabled people, pregnant women and those with infants. Many in the evacuation centres, including children, are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders. Nearly 40 elderly people are reported to have died since being moved to evacuation centres due to the cold weather, as well as physical and mental stress. Exhausted school teachers in the affected areas require counselling, with many of them are managing the evacuation centres in the schools they used to teach in.