UN blasts Ivory Coast aid shortfall

22nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The UN on Tuesday urged donors to answer an appeal for aid to Ivory Coast, blasting an "unacceptable" shortfall as the humanitarian situation worsened amid a violent post-election standoff.

The warning came as an aid agency reported an increased exodus from the main city Abidjan, which is at the heart of violence between supporters of strongman Laurent Gbagbo and internationally recognised election victor Alassane Ouatarra.

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it had received only $7 million of the $32 million it appealed for in January.

A spokeswoman for the UN World Food Programme, Emilia Casella, said her agency had received no funding, jeopardising emergency food deliveries in Ivory Coast.

OCHA spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said the overall appeal would be increased in the coming days.

"With the deteriorating situation in Ivory Coast we would like to make a new appeal to donors," she told journalists.

Byrs called the shortfall "unacceptable in view of the situation."

More than 440 people have been killed since the west African state slid into violence after the disputed presidential election result last November, according to the United Nations, while nearly half a million have fled their homes.

They include 94,000 Ivorians who have sought refuge in neighbouring Liberia.

"Staff in Abidjan say that the city is emptying of its inhabitants," said a spokeswoman for the International Organisation for Migration, Jemini Pandya.

"As of yesterday because of the deteriorating situation we had to evacuate all remaining staff," she added.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres was visiting eastern Liberia on Tuesday to evaluate the response to the Ivorian crisis.

© 2011 AFP

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