MSF reinforces team in Cote d'Ivoire and starts to deliver aid to Bouake

In the face of continued unrest, MSF has strengthened its team in the Ivory Coast in order to intervene in areas of conflict between rebels and government forces and in the main city, Abidjan. Our emergency team arrived in Bouake last Wednesday (September 25) with medicines and medical supplies. This city of nearly one million people remains densely populated, while all economic activity has come to a halt. The cost of food has doubled and banks are closed. Only the Bouake hospital continues to operate, though on a very limited level. Almost all public health clinics have closed. Our team is preparing to support some of those facilities to restore access to basic medical care. In Abidjan, our team continues its work in a prison. A second team has entered several of the capital’s “precarious” neighborhoods (informal and poorly-equipped settlements) to care for vulnerable families who, having been threatened with expulsion, are at even greater risk. We expect to deliver material and medical aid to them. Threats and intimidation against these communities are hardening, not easing. Such instability heightens our concern for civilian populations. In addition, population movements may increase the risk of epidemic. Last month, the Ivoirian Health Ministry recorded nearly 150 cases of cholera in Abidjan in one week.