Caritas at work in Ivory Coast

The bloodshed continues in Ivory Coast. Before the capture of Laurent Gbagbo, Archbishop Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan asked for prayers for his people. Thousands of Abidjan residents have been driven from their homes by bombing and artillery fire. Food, water, and electricity are hard to find, and a humanitarian disaster looms.

In February, Caritas Internationalis launched an appeal for €300,000 to support the emergency response. Through its national member, Caritas Côte d’Ivoire and the support of several international member organisations, Caritas has been helping tens of thousands of people in Ivory Coast who have been displaced by the clashes over the last months.

“Caritas is present in nearly all of the over 20 sites where displaced people have mainly gathered and is providing food and other much-needed aid such as household items, hygiene articles and protection”, said Mr. Djoman, Director of Human Development at Caritas Ivory Coast.

In and around the capital Abidjan alone, Caritas is helping more than 20,000 displaced people, most of them women and children.

The different religious communities are currently providing shelter to roughly 25,000 displaced people. A lot of the aid from Caritas and partner organisations is also distributed through local Caritas offices in parishes.

Ivory Coast is a nation on an ethnic-religious fault-line with a predominantly agrarian Muslim north and a predominantly urbanised, industrial and administrative Christian and animist south.

According to Elizabeth Kendal of The World Evangelical Alliance President Alassane Ouattara is an Northern Muslim who played the race and religion cards for political gain.

Elizabeth says he has fuelled tensions and aggravated divisions during economically stressful times as Ivory Coast has been struggling under the weight of decades of mass Muslim immigration.

Ouattara has long sought the naturalisation of all immigrants which would mean an immediate Muslim majority in Ivory Coast.  Those who object to that outcome are labelled ‘Islamophobic’, ‘racist’ and ‘xenophobic’. Ouattara has the backing of Islamic states precisely because he is a Muslim prepared to play the Muslim-as-victim card for political gain.

Assist News Service
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