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Togo: Significant funding shortfall as refugees continue to arrive in Benin

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(New York, 14 June): More than four weeks on from the launch of a six-month $5.95 million Flash Appeal, yet another United Nations appeal for an African crisis has failed to garner significant interest from the international donor community. The West African country of Benin is currently hosting some 21,000 Togolese refugees -- nearly half of them children -- who have sought refuge in this neighbouring country. To meet their needs, the Government of Benin, in conjunction with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, called for urgent humanitarian assistance on 13 May 2005. To date, there has been no response under the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP).
A steady stream of refugees continues to arrive daily in Benin more than six weeks after disputed presidential elections prompted the first wave of displacements. Currently, more than 35,000 individuals are displaced outside Togo, and an additional 10,000 are reported to be internally displaced. The number of refugees in Ghana has held steady, at just over 15,000, for the past two weeks, but nearly 100 individuals cross the Togo-Benin border daily in search of refuge. One-third of these refugees are being sheltered in two UNHCR-run refugee camps at Lokassa and Come. The remainder have sought shelter with family and friends in the area.

Given the large percentage of refugees lodged with families and host communities, several types of direct and indirect assistance for host families and communities are required, in addition to direct support for the refugees themselves. The appeal prioritizes action in protection, shelter, food aid, non-food household items, water and sanitation, education, health, community services and coordination and operational support. Specifically, $1.64 million has been requested for food aid; $1 million for protection; $750,000 for health services; $660,000 for shelter and other non-food items; $395,000 for emergency educational needs; $325,000 for water and sanitation; and $81,000 for security and telecommunications. An additional $1.01 million is intended to cover various multisectoral projects.

Some support has materialized outside the CAP, with UNCHR reporting that the European Commission's Humanitarian Office (ECHO) has committed 1.05 million euros to its work. However, to meet the refugees' requirements, UNHCR has already had to make an allocation of $1.5 million from its operational reserves. Outside contributions have also been recorded for Egypt, France and Sweden.

A team of human rights and forensic experts from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was set to arrive in Togo yesterday to begin a two-week investigation into what has prompted the exodus of refugees to Ghana and Benin.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.