Côte d'Ivoire + 1 more

ActionAid Liberia Emergency Response to Ivorian refugees - April 2011 Update

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Some 4,800 Ivorian refugees forced to flee into Liberia have benefitted from two phases of ActionAid's ongoing emergency response to the fall-out from the political crisis which continues to tear apart Cote d'Ivoire.

Escalating violence over the past few weeks has forced thousands more people to leave their homes in the West African country. An estimated 110,000 of those who have fled are now living in border areas in neighbouring Liberia.

The influx has put huge pressure on already limited resources in Liberia. On a 2 day trip to the country in early April, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos visited towns in Grand Gedeh country, where an estimated 9,000 refugees arrived in just one week in late March.

"Many of the refugees here dropped everything and ran for their lives. They arrived in Liberia with little or nothing. The Liberian people have shown great generosity, sharing what they have, but they need support, too," Amos said.

Following initial assessments of the situation in February, ActionAid Liberia worked in collaboration with partner organizations, local structures and displaced people themselves to distribute food packages and essential items such as soap and mosquito nets to 2,000 people in 5 towns in Nimba country, where the majority of refugees are concentrated.

A second round of distribution in late March reached an additional 2,800 people in Toe and Brown Towns in Gbarzon district and Tempo Town in Konobo district, both in Grand Gedeh county.

Ken Kerseh, 30, arrived in Teahplay, Nimba County along with her mother from Gwiaplay in Ivory Coast three months ago and had to carry the burden of her nine-month old twins, a girl and a boy, leaving her husband back home.

"We are seven in all. We have spent three months here now. When we came the first time they gave us buckets and bulgur wheat. Today I received some things," she said.

"What I got is small because I am breastfeeding and needed more rice to eat well and be able to give my children sufficient breast milk. But I want to tell you thank you for your help. The rice and other things will still benefit me and my children".

Ken does not know the whereabouts of her husband but believes he is still in Ivory Coast.

ActionAid Liberia's recent humanitarian assistance focused on refugees residing in the border towns of Gblarlay, Biaplay, Glalay, Douplay and Teahplay in the Buutuo region of Nimba County where a high influx of Ivorian refugees is reported. Our initial response targeted 2,000 refugees with funding from the Strategic Crisis Programme (a fund managed by the International Emergencies and Conflict Team).

Recent weeks have seen deterioration in the situation, with more refugees flooding into Liberia. We are still seeking funding to expand our emergency response to meet the needs of those affected.