Volunteers from the Red Cross Society of Guinea are helping the country's authorities facilitate the return home of thousands of Guineans fleeing the unrest that has gripped Côte d'Ivoire in the past six months.
Over 1,500 hungry and exhausted Guineans arrived at Conakry port on 5 March on board a ship chartered by the government. Another 469 arrived in December and some 2,000 in January in the same conditions. More than 50,000 Guineans have also returned home by their own means, either by plane or on foot, since the unrest broke out in September 2002.
Those arriving at Conakry port are taken to the 28 September Stadium, where they are greeted by Red Cross volunteers and representatives of the Ministry of Territorial Administration, the Ministry of Security and the National Humanitarian Action Service. They are then taken by bus to rejoin their families.
Red Cross volunteers are leading efforts to assist returnees at the border. They register newcomers, distribute water and food supplied by the World Food Programme, provide first aid and take the sick to hospitals. They also prepare and serve hot meals, ensure hygiene in places of transit, distribute delivery kits for pregnant women and help restore contact between relatives separated by the conflict, in particular by distributing Red Cross messages.
The efficient work of the Guinean Red Cross is being supported and financed by the ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Further information: Maria del Pilar Vanegas, ICRC Conakry, tel. ++224 413 032 / 455 788