Briefing Notes - 20 Feb 1998
A UNHCR staff member has been in Freetown since Wednesday with the UN inter-agency mission, mainly to look into the situation of the 14,000 Liberian refugees still in Sierra Leone, and the possibility of helping them to return home.
It is reported that people are going back from Guinea to Freetown by boat. We presume these are among the 5,000 people who had arrived in Conakry since 6 February. Departures from Conakry port were 650 on Wednesday and 250 on Thursday. Sierra Leonean businessmen are making the trip on a daily basis to Guinea, to stock up on food and other items.
The UN consolidated appeal for repatriation and reintegration in Liberia asks for a total of $70 million for activities of the UN system as a whole. UNHCR's portion of the UN system's consolidated appeal is $40 million, including funds urgently needed for the repatriation of the 14,000 Liberians from Sierra Leone, as well as for the return of an expected 380,000 Liberians this year from Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire. We expect movements from Guinea to Liberia to accelerate during March as we have just received official word that the government of Guinea has agreed to open border crossings near Nzerekore for the repatriation of refugees from Guinea to Liberia.