9 Apr 2011

Humanitarian crisis feared in Abidjan

1:06 pm on 9 April 2011

Aid agencies are warning of a humanitarian crisis in Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan, where fighting is preventing them from reaching people in need of help.

The United Nations has appealed for the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow safe access to civilians.

The fighting is between supporters of Alassane Ouattara who is internationally recognised as president, and incumbent Laurent Gbagbo who refuses to give up power.

The UN says Mr Gbagbo lost a run-off presidential election on 28 November last year.

Mr Gbagbo has been in power since 2000. The election was meant to unite the country after a civil war in 2002.

The UN also says forces loyal of Mr Gbagbo have gained ground in Abidjan.

UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy says they used a lull for peace talks to strengthen their position.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council says it's investigating the discovery of more than 100 new bodies in the west of the country, some of whom had been burned alive.

Another 800 dead were reported by aid groups last week.

Each side blames the other for the killings and the UN agency fears more bodies will be found.