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While the post election violence that wracked Ivory Coast began to subside almost a month ago, emergency medical needs remain at critical levels, medical relief group Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF) said in a statement.

“In Abidjan, health centers and hospitals are overwhelmed with patients including newly wounded ones and medical and drug supplies in the city are still dangerously low. In the west of the country, the situation remains extremely tense as many villages remain empty and people continue to hide in the bush,” MSF said.

Save the Children and staff members prepare food packages in Man, western Cte d’Ivoire. Save the Children has already distributed these nutrition packages to 375 pregnant and lactating women and 25 people living with HIV/AIDS in the Catholic Mission displacement camp in Dukou, western Cte d’Ivoire. Each of them received 4kg of rice, 1kg of sugar, 0.5kg of salt, 3kg of corn flour, 20 cans of sardines, 1 liter of palm oil, 4 mangos and 4 avocados. Credit: Rodrigo Ordez/Save the Children

by Save the Children lduvillier 5/13/2011 10:18:17 AM

Odile, 30 and a new mother of twin girls, talks a Save the Children protection worker about the difficulties she faces in getting access to food. Pregnant women like Odile left their homes without having time to bring anything with them, and have no money to buy healthy food. As the mother’s nutritional status has a direct impact on the wellbeing of the baby, Save the Children is helping improve the diet of pregnant and lactating women by providing special food packages to help them maintain their strength and health, improving not only their chances but that of their babies. Credit: save the Children/Laurent Duvillier

by Save the Children lduvillier 5/20/2011 7:01:20 PM

Who else will be missing at Alassane Ouattara’s inauguration tomorrow? Odile and her twin babies. This mother of 30 was about to give birth when she was forced to flee her home due to fighting in her village Ghehibly, western Cte d’Ivoire. Together with her two children, Odile walked for about 18 kilometres before arriving in the site set up for displaced families in Dukou. Four days later, she delivered twin babies who she is now trying to keep alive despite all the difficulties she is facing like access to food, water and sanitation. Save the Children staff provided Odile with a kit of items for her newborn twins. The kits include soap, baby clothes, a bed sheet, towels, nappies and baby power.

by Save the Children lduvillier 5/20/2011 7:02:11 PM

Isabella Kanoan,
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an HIV positive mother of four who was displaced by the violence in western Ivory Coast, holds up a picture of herself and her four children. She is currently living in the displacement camp located in the Catholic Mission in Duekoue. She has a supply of Anti Retroviral drugs to last her several months, but she is struggling to find the proper nourishment that is necessary for the Anti Retroviral drugs to work. Save the Children is supplying food aid to Isabella and other HIV positive people whose lifesaving treatment has been threatened by violence and displacement in Ivory Coast.

Photo Credit: Colin Crowley/Save the Children

by Save the Children lduvillier 5/24/2011 9:50:56 AM

Over 60 tons of medical supplies, including operating tables, incubators, hospital beds, reanimation kits for newborns and adults, were donated by UNFPA in Bouak to the regional “prfet” of Valle du Bandama to increase the technical capacities of health facilities in the region. At the height of the crisis, over 60,000 displaced people came to the area, while the main hospital became the only reference center for the north, west and central areas of Cote d’Ivoire.

After a gruelling journey through the bush, Hawa arrived in Liberia and is now living in a camp outside Zorgowee town, Nimba county. Bouncing her young son on her knee, she told me: “When the fighting began I was at home with my youngest son, but my three older children were out with my husband.

“I was looking for them as I made my way to Liberia. Although I didn’t find them, I found four other children on the journey who I knew from my village. I brought them all with me and am now looking after them in this camp.”

Struggle for food

“I miss my husband and my other children,” Hawa said. “Now I’m the breadwinner and I have five children to look after but there’s no work here for me and life is very difficult.”

Although the security situation in the Ivory Coast continues to improve, there are still reports of outbreaks of violence, particularly in the west near the border with Liberia. Many refugees, like Hawa, feel too frightened to return home.

Red Cross support

“My brother in law is also here in the camp and the Red Cross has provided us with free phone calls,” Hawa said. “We have both tried calling my husband but cannot get through to him. I think he is still in the Ivory Coast but I don’t know where.”

Red Cross volunteers are working hard to help restore contact between families separated by the conflict. So far, in Liberia’s Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties the Red Cross has helped more than 3,250 people to make successful phone calls to family members.

For tens of thousands of displaced people in the west of the Ivory Coast and refugees in neighbouring Liberia, there is still concern about the danger of returning home.

Entire villages were devastated by the conflict, and the needs of residents and displaced people remain acute. The Red Cross is distributing supplies and food,
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making available drinking water and supporting medical facilities.

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