|Ivory Coast – Still fear and many problems|
|Ivory Coast – Hundreds of dead around the Salesian mission|
The Salesians have three communities in the country: at Korhogo, in the north; at Duekoué, in the western region; and at Abidjan, the political and economic capital.
At Korhogo there are five Salesians in the community looking after a secondary school and a parish – which so far are still operating with students and serving the faithful – as well as the usual Salesian activities with the children and young people as part of the mission structure. The situation in the city is calm and the same can be said of the community and the activities of the Salesians.
The community of three Salesians at Duékoué look after a parish, a vocational training centre and a hostel. The city has been the scene of a great deal of conflict and in recent days has been captured by the republican troops of Ouattara. The parish has been respected even though some potential trouble-makers came into the mission but then left without harming any of the refugees there or the community. In the city there have been many casualties on both sides of the conflict, but the local Guéré tribe has been particularly affected. It is not easy to count the number of those dead but it is estimated that there are about 800.
The present number of refugees in the mission is about 20,000. The Salesians, assisted by some health workers, the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations are trying to help this large number of people. It is not always easy to provide food and health care given that the needs far exceed what ìs available.
The community in Abidjan is in a crowded working class area of the capital city, Koumassi Remblais. There they have a youth centre, two reception centres for children with problems and a parish. There are five Salesians who look after the work and they are still all there, and the activities are carrying on as normal.
The two reception centres for children are completely full. There are no refugees in the Abidjan centre. Fr Peña García reports: “We are suffering with the people the consequences of the crisis, especially the great uncertainty.” Just now because of the situation there is a scarcity of basic food items.