Health harzards affecting homeless children in Côte d'Ivoire

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - As the rainy season approaches in Cote d'Ivoire, thousands of children, forced from their homes by the fighting, are still crammed in makeshift shelters, potentially exposed to fatal diseases according to the NGO Save the Children.

Nearly five months after the start of the post-election crisis that plunged the country into a conflict, many families displaced by the fighting are still living and sleeping under the stars, says the NGO in a statement released Wednesday evening in Dakar.

In addition, the lack of drinking water exposes them to respiratory infections and other diseases related to water.

"We have no house, the rain comes and we sleep outside. If it rains, we cannot sleep. People are sick. We cannot continue living like this," said Celestine, mother of three children living in a displaced persons camp in Duékoué in the west.

According to the release, Save the Children also works in other camps where young families are in similar desperate conditions.

On a site set up at the Church of Guiglo, more than 4,000 people are living outside without tents. They are awaiting plastic sheets or nets, which should arrive this week.

"The conditions in these camps are already horrible, and will only worsen with the arrival of the rainy season. Without clean water or shelter or access to health care, children in these camps could be trapped in a fertile ground for diseases with catastrophic consequences, "warned the spokesperson of Save the Children in western Côte d'Ivoire, Annie Bodmer-Roy.

According to some experts, the beginning of the rainy season could lead to a sharp increase in diseases such as acute diarrhea, malaria and respiratory infections.

05 Maio 2011 17:02:15

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