CONAKRY, 5 February (Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) The Secretary-General's Humanitarian
Envoy for the Crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, Ms. Carolyn McAskie left Guinea
today completing a three-day mission to the country as part of her tour
of countries neighboring Côte d'Ivoire.
During her mission, Ms. McAskie had meetings with Ministers of the Guinean Government, representatives of the United Nations in Guinea, NGOs, and Donors. Ms. McAskie also undertook a trip to the N'Zerekore region where she visited border points and observed the influx of refugees from Liberia.
In meetings, Ms. McAskie discussed the humanitarian impact on Guinea from the ongoing crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, with specific emphasis on issues related to incoming refugees, Guinean evacuees and foreign nationals in transit. Ms. McAskie stressed that Guinea is already hosting large groups of refugees displaced from conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and that the current situation needs rapid and effective response as it will place further strain upon Guinea. Already being the number-one refugee receiving country in Africa, it is the responsibility of all involved partners to assist Guinea in providing the necessary assistance to those seeking refuge within its borders, as well as not to forget the host-communities, all of which continue to endure a key burden in the country's generosity concerning the reception of refugees.
During her visit to the N'Zerekore region, Ms. McAskie met with the Governor of N'Zerekore and the Prefect of Lola. At the Maison de Jeunes in Lola town, a temporary transit center, she met with refugees and foreign nationals in transit. Ms. McAskie visited Bossou and the entry point of Thuo on the Guinean - Liberian border. At the latter location, Ms. McAskie observed the steady influx of refugees, many of whom were exhausted and without means, having been displaced by the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire and forced to traverse Liberia to seek refuge in Guinea.
Ms. McAskie stressed the point of accommodation facilities for incoming refugees, and the need for rehabilitating existing sites, as well as the possibility of opening new sites for refugee camps if the current influx persists. She advocated for the need for funding and cooperation among partners in order to provide the necessary assistance to persons in need. As part of this, Ms. McAskie pointed also to the growing problem of persons stranded at border entry points without means for further transportation. As a critical lack of funding for transport inhibits their movement to transit centers, Guinean authorities have raised security concerns over having large groups of people at border crossings.
During the visit, the complexity of the humanitarian situation in Guinea was recognized, caused amongst other things by the multiple nationalities seeking to cross the border to Guinea, either to seek protection and assistance, or to transit to other parts of West Africa.
Ms. McAskie left Guinea in the afternoon for Abidjan, from where she will continue to Mali later this week.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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