UN envoy to attend emergency meeting of West African countries on Côte

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for West Africa, Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, is scheduled to attend the meeting on Sunday of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Accra, Ghana, spokesman Fred Eckhard said at a press briefing. On the humanitarian front, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that a UN assessment mission visited 10 sites earlier this week in Abidjan and identified as immediate needs housing, food, water, clothes, mattresses and covers. The situation in Bouaké and Korhogo remained tense, according to OCHA, and the mission was not able to go there because of the security situation. Reports from Bouaké indicated that movement of civilians was limited to essential shopping and prices had increased. Hospitals there were starting to be short of medication. Humanitarian officials said they feared that an escalation of violence in Côte d’Ivoire could lead to the movement of the refugees to Liberia, Guinea, or other areas of the country. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that borders with Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea remained closed and that no crossings were reported.

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