Bonn, 04.04.2011. Welthungerhilfe is providing substantial aid measures for the refugees who have fled to Liberia and Mali from war-torn Ivory Coast. Roughly one million citizens of Ivory Coast are fleeing as a result of the continuing fighting.
So far, more than 130,000 refugees have arrived in Liberia. Most of them are women and children and elderly people who have lost family members. In the Grand Gedeh region about 25,000 people have fled across the border. The majority of them have found shelter with relatives, who are themselves small-scale farmers whose lives are a daily struggle for survival. "It really is impressive to how see much people are helping each other and how they manage to share even the little that they have. But they haven't forgotten that during the civil war in Liberia they themselves lived as refugees in Ivory Coast for years. Here, people are showing by their actions what solidarity and charity really mean", reports Rüdiger Ehrler, a member of Welthungerhilfe's emergency response team on the ground.
Welthungerhilfe has therefore responded swiftly, and it is making available 250,000 euros of funding from existing projects which are supported by the federal government. Over the last two weeks wells and latrines have been built in the affected villages for the benefit of both the refugees and the local population. Over the last few days more and more people have ended up in the areas along the border. "Completely exhausted people are now also stuck in the small towns immediately adjacent to the border, people with no relatives who have had to leave all their belongings behind them in Ivory Coast and who don't know where they can find refuge" is how Ehrler describes the refugees' hopeless situation.
Welthungerhilfe is amongst those helping the United Nations to set up refugee camps in the vicinity of Ziah Town. For days now areas here have been cleared of vegetation in order to create firm ground for the tents and temporary huts, and completely overgrown roads have been opened up. In the refugee camps the people are then provided not just with clean water and food, but also with sets of cooking equipment and sanitary articles such as soap. The camps are being set up to accommodate about 20,000 people.
Welthungerhilfe is also actively contributing towards providing aid for the refugees in Mali. So far about 20,000 people have arrived there who are from various West African countries and have been working in Ivory Coast as migrant workers. In the border town of Zegoua in Sikasso district they receive food and safe accommodation in a transit camp before continuing their journeys to their home countries.
If required we can arrange an interview for you with Rüdiger Ehrler, member of Welthungerhilfe's emergency response team in Liberia.
Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e. V.
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