Assistance needs increasing faster than expected in eastern Liberia
Following renewed factional fighting in Côte d'Ivoire since February 24th, the number of Ivorian refugees in Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Maryland counties of northern and eastern Liberia has increased from 40,000 in mid-February to about 117,000 in March, according to official estimates. The upsurge in new refugees has led to further pressure on host families' own resources, market food availability and prices, and sanitation and health services. Donors have not fully responded to appeals for additional resources. Without additional assistance, most refugees and host families will likely face unusually high food insecurity between May and August.
The exact number of Ivorian refugees currently in the area is difficult to know, as some refugees are beginning to cross back and forth from Côte d'Ivoire following calls from local Ivorian leaders and shortages of assistance in Liberia. About 80 to 90 percent of the refugees are in Nimba. Approximately 1,500 to 2,000 of those refugees have agreed to move into the only operational refugee camp, which has a capacity to support 18,000 refugees. The remaining refugees are staying with host families in Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, or Maryland.