26 Mar 2011

Estimated million refugees now in Ivory Coast - UN

9:47 am on 26 March 2011

The United Nations refugee agency says that up to one million people may have fled their homes in Ivory Coast because of violence following disputed elections there.

The UNHCR says most have run away from recent violence in Abidjan.

The BBC reports the estimate is double the last figure of a week ago.

Aid agencies are said to be unable to reach parts of the west where forces loyal to incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo have been losing ground.

Mr Gbagbo refuses to leave office after being internationally judged the loser of a presidential election last November. Challenger Alassane Ouattara is considered to have won.

France and Nigeria circulated a draft resolution at the UN on Friday, calling for sanctions against Mr Gbagbo.

Some 462 people have been killed in Abidjan since the stand-off began in December, according to the UN.