Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The ECOWAS Commission has presented 1,320 tons of grains valued at more than US$1 million to the Government of Cote d'Ivoire to alleviate the sufferings of 1 million people displaced during the country's post-electoral crisis of 2010.
According to an ECOWAS Commission statement, the 885 tons of rice and 435 tons of maize were presented by ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Desire Ouédraogo to Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister of State for Employment, Social Affairs and Solidarity, Mr. Kafana Kone, during a ceremony in Abidjan on 20 May 2012.
At the ceremony, attended by representatives of the office of the Prime Minister, Ministries for Ex-combatants and Regional Integration, President Ouedraogo said the gesture was the region's contribution to assist internally displaced persons return quickly to normal life in the spirit of regional solidarity.
He said ECOWAS placed a high premium on the management of conflicts and assisting member states to address accompanying challenges, adding that the contribution would also help in poverty alleviation among the displaced population and refugees affected by the crisis.
In January 2010, the Commission released US$500,000 to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, to assist the then 150,000 Ivorian refugees from the crisis in Liberia.
In his response, Minister Kone commended ECOWAS for the donation, describing it as further expression of the attachment of member states to the principles of solidarity enshrined in the instruments of the organisation.
Earlier, Mr. Gialuca Terrera, an official of the World Food Programme (WFP), which helped to procure the food items, said the involvement of the programme’s regional office was within the context of the Memorandum of Understanding with ECOWAS, which stipulates that the two organizations complement each other in addressing humanitarian needs
in member states.
He said the WFP was also involved bilaterally with the Government of Cote d'Ivoire to provide for the vulnerable victims of the crisis.
Funding for the donated food came from the US$2.4 million approved by ECOWAS leaders to support internally displaced populations and refugees.
-0- PANA SEG 24May2012