Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ivoirans escaping by sea to Ghana

When I came out to Axim, western Ghana a few days ago, I expected to see many refugees from Cote d'Ivoire fleeing along the highway. But the road was completely dead--the border had been closed last week and nobody was getting through (although three weeks ago there was a steady stream of vehicles loaded with people and cocoa heading into Ghana).

The refugees are escaping by sea.

These fishing vessels have been cruising past the hotel every few minutes. The hotel staff tell us that this has been going on for weeks. The vessels are actually from fishing towns in Ghana, particularly Busua, Dixcove, Cape Coast, and points even farther to the east. The fishing in those areas has lately been poor, and the fisherman have found a new source of income.

They motor to Abidjan, or other coastal towns, pick up paying customers, and bring them back to their home port. The refugees are primarily Twi-speaking groups from the south of the country, who are culturally similar to the southern Ghanaians. They will also have been Gbagbo supporters.

I have to admit that it isn't as crowded as I would have thought it would be, but it is a long journey, and the boats are known to break in half. When fishing they are usually farther offshore.

Update April 12

According to today's Daily Graphic (a Ghanaian newspaper), the escaping refugees were not Ivoirans, but Ghanaians (more than a million of whom live in Cote d'Ivoire in the area surrounding Abidjan). They have been trapped there since the border was closed last week. There were harrowing descriptions of life for these Ghanaians (food cut off, people starving, dead children in the streets). As some of the fishing boats decided to return to Sekondi, many of these Ghanaians bought passage.

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