19 April 2011 | UNMIL
On 12 April 2011, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Recovery and Governance, Moustapha Soumaré, who is also UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Liberia led a UN humanitarian delegation to Maryland County. Accompanied by officials of the Government of Liberia, the DSRSG went to assess the recent humanitarian emergency sparked by the influx of Ivorian refugees who fled that country in search of security within the Liberian territory. This humanitarian emergency for Liberia has seen an influx of refugees exceeding 130,000 in counties bordering Ivory Coast, with Maryland, Nimba and Grand Gedeh.
This situation has claimed the attention of a wide range of humanitarian actors and Government of Liberia institutions, all mobilized to bring assistance to Ivorian refugees, Liberian returnees and third country nationals.
During his travels, DSRSG Soumaré stressed that the Liberian Government, through the LRRRC, is collaborating with its partners, including the entire UN family, to meet the needs of Ivorian refugees coming into Liberia. He praised the high level of generosity shown by the government and people of Liberia who have welcomed their neighbors in need, and urged the Ivorian refugees for their part not to bring the conflict to Liberia.
When on the site of the future refugee camp at Little Wlebbo to see first hand the developments, Mr. Soumaré said “so far I am really satisfied with what I have seen, but again I really want to use this medium to say that as United Nations, our response can only be at the level of resources that we receive from the donors”
Maryland County Superintendent Gbleh-bo Brown for his part said the county’s authorities and partners have been making contingency plans, by the overwhelming influx of refugees. Superintendent Brown reiterated the need for continued proper coordination, urging all partners to liaise with relevant institutions of the Liberian Government such as the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission. He underscored the need for the Maryland County Health Team to take responsibility for the health sector so that the Liberian Government is fully in control of the situation. Mr. Brown expressed concern to the DSRSG over a number of refugees still scattered along the Pedebo border, appealing for their immediate evacuation for security reasons.
On the issue of security in the area as a result of the humanitarian crisis, DSRSG Soumaré spoke of the level of assistance being provided by UNMIL to the Government of Liberia’s security agencies, in maintaining stability and security in areas hosting the refugees. The Deputy UN Envoy emphasized his pleasure at seeing the professional manner in which personnel of the Bureau of Immigration and Nationalization and the Liberia National Police, through the Emergency Response Unit are carrying out the their tasks in terms of security at the borders, demonstrating an increasing ability to take full control of the security situation throughout the country.