UNHCR is continuing to evacuate Sierra Leonean refugees from Kobikoro to Massakoundou (both in Guinea), after the refugees and local inhabitants came under fire in the town of Forokonia, close to the border with Sierra Leone, on 3 July, and fled to Kobikoro. Several thousand refugees had, to that point, declined transfer to camps, preferring to remain close to their villages in Sierra Leone. So far 3,346 people have been moved from Kobikoro.
The transfer operation is continuing at a rate of 600 people per day, limited by the difficult conditions and a small number of trucks. Local officials and aid workers estimate that there are still several thousand Sierra Leoneans near the border.
UNHCR staff report that the medical condition of these refugees is the worst among those fleeing Sierra Leone so far due to their long stay in the forest. Among the group moved from Kobikoro, 170 were taken to Kissidougou hospital, suffering mainly from malnutrition and respiratory infections. At the beginning of the transfer operation, 11 deaths (eight children and three adults) attributable to these causes were registered in Kobikoro. Malnutrition is by far the leading cause of death among children refugees, at 44%.
Food distribution to Gueckedou camps cut off from aid for several weeks for security reasons is continuing.
This document is intended for public information purposes only. It is not an official UN document.