The evacuation of the children, mothers, and aunts began on Saturday, 26 February. All of the families are currently staying at the SOS Children's Village in Aboisso, 110 kilometres west of Abidjan and seem to be coping well with the situation. Each SOS family from SOS Children's Village Aboisso is sharing a family house with an SOS family from Abobo-Gare.
In order not to disrupt their education, the children from Abobo have already been registered and started attending lessons at the SOS School in Aboisso.
The majority of older children living in the SOS Youth Home in Abobo were also evacuated. A few young people decided to stay in Abidjan in locations that are still safe.
All SOS facilities in Aboisso, including the Children’s Village, are safe and protected by security guards. However, if the situation in the area does deteriorate further, the evacuation of all children to Togo will be considered. The situation in Côte d’Ivoire has been critical since the presidential elections in November 2010. You can read our last report here.
The national office has had problems accessing its bank accounts (due to nationalisation by the government) and thus is finding it hard to guarantee the smooth and safe operation of its programmes, especially in Abobo-Gare. The Regional Office for Central and West Africa in Cameroon has been and is trying to support SOS Côte d’Ivoire as best as possible in finding appropriate solutions to prevent projects from lacking the necessary resources.
Many people have died in post-election violence and the rising violence raises concerns that the West African country could slip back into full-scale civil war. In 2002-03 fighting split the Ivory Coast between its north and south. It is feared that if the conflict restarted it would also destabilise fragile neighbouring countries such as Liberia.
A fundraising video from SOS Children's Village Abobo-Gare (before the evacuation):
At present there are two SOS Children's Villages in Côte d'Ivoire, two SOS Youth Homes, two SOS Nurseries, two SOS Schools, two SOS Social Centres and one SOS Medical Centre.