Red Cross seeks funds for displaced Ivorians

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The Red Cross on Thursday appealed for 1.39 million dollars (1.06 million euros) to help countries neighbouring Ivory Coast to provide aid to Ivorians fleeing from political deadlock in their homeland.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it needed the funds to help local units of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ghana, Liberia and Mali to "strengthen their relief efforts and preparedness measures to assist people fleeing the political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire."

Aita Sarr, who is IFRC's Dakar-based disaster management coordinator, noted that most displaced Ivorians have fled to Liberia.

Nevertheless, "given the continued political crisis, an influx of people is also possible in other countries bordering Côte d'Ivoire, such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana," she said.

The appeal would cover aid for 45,000 people for six months, said the IFRC, adding that emergency relief items, hygiene kits and shelter material would be stocked. In addition, water and sanitation services would be provided.

The UN refugee agency said Tuesday that some 19,120 Ivorians have fled to Liberia over fears that a civil war would break out. In addition, the UNHCR had earlier said that another 200 have sought refuge in Guinea.

The situation in Ivory Coast has been tensed since last month's presidential election, which both outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo and rival Alassane Ouattara claimed to have won.

World powers, the United Nations and the African Union have recognised Ouattara as president and have demanded that Gbagbo stepped down.

On Wednesday, Gbagbo's most notorious lieutenant Charles Ble Goude urged the strongman's diehard supporters to launch an unarmed assault on Ouattara's UN-defended base.

© 2010 AFP

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