As of 19 January, 25,597 Ivorians who fled Cote d’Ivoire have been pre-registered in Liberia, Ghana, Guinea and Togo. Liberia currently hosts 95 per cent of them.
As UNHCR and partners work to reach remote areas, more than 99 per cent of the apparent population increase in Liberia in 2021 is due to back-dated pre-registrations of refugees who arrived in 2020.
UNHCR Emergency Response
As of 19 January 2021, a total of 24,234 Ivorian refugees have crossed into Liberia, 66 per cent of whom (15,873) have been formally registered. While the overall figures indicate a population increase, more than 99 per cent of those newly pre-registered arrived in October and November of 2020, but were located in remote areas near the border. Their registrations are back-dated accordingly. UNHCR continues to work with partners to conduct pre-registration exercises and expand coverage in hard to reach areas.
During the period under review, UNHCR identified more than 150 persons with special needs (PWSNs), provided them with assistance, and will conduct follow-up to monitor ongoing protection needs. As of 16 January, there were 1,036 .
Protection assessments have revealed concerns regarding the effect of living conditions in local communities on other PWSNs, such as unaccompanied children and the elderly. Restricted living space, food scarcity and limited WaSH resources and healthcare capacity were highlighted.
During a registration exercise in Grand Gedeh it was found that 872 refugees may have relocated within the county due to scarcity of food, shelter, livelihoods opportunities or other resources.
Protection assessments conducted in Maryland County with LRRRC with more than 600 refugees indicated the need for food assistance and CRIs, as well as their intention to return to CIV only when there is sustained stability.
During registration in Grand Gedeh county, 15 children (7 girls and 8 boys) were reported to be out of school in Cote d’Ivoire due to financial restrictions. In Toe’s Town Axis, UNHCR is reviewing capacity in public schools and within the refugee community to support education efforts for children while working closely with local Education Officers to find solutions.
The inaugural Protection Working Group (PWG) meeting was held on 6 January. The meeting was chaired by UNHCR and attended by UNICE, UNFP and UN Women.
UNHCR and LRRRC conducted a joint border monitoring mission in Maryland County on 5 January, where protection assessments raised concerns for a number risks associated with unofficial crossing points, such as GBV, due to the absence of law enforcement agencies. The visit also included a protection training with Liberian Immigration Services (LIS) at the Kablakeh official crossing point, and an affirmation to continue information sharing regarding developments at the border.
During the reporting period, 53 refugees were treated for cough and fever during registration, in the past week 13 of the 14 were children. Additionally, three children were referred to a local health clinic for malnutrition, and three refugees were referred to a health clinic for vision-related issues.
In Buuto Axis, a woman passed away after giving birth to twins. Her husband and nine children returned to Côte d’Ivoire to bury her.
In Grand Gedeh County, the woman who was reported to have suffered a miscarriage earlier in the year has been re-admitted to the hospital for severe anaemia and is receiving treatment, and treatment options are being explored for a child with mental health issues.
In Nimba County, the more than 1,574 individuals registered during the reporting period received three face masks each and information about COVID-19 prevention, and more than 100 households received hand sanitizers. An additional 400 face masks were distributed to refugees in Grand Gedeh County.
Reports indicate that some refugees may be resorting to alternative medical treatment due to scarcity of medicine and difficulty accessing healthcare. UNHCR continues to coordinate with government public health entities on the county level to ensure refugee access to local health services.
SHELTER AND WaSH
Eleven water pumps were repaired in Little Wlebo (6) and in B’hai village (5) to improve water access for refugees and the host community. UNHCR conducted WaSH assessments in Nimba County in coordination with LRRRC, local officials and a contractor. In Kaylay town the assessment found four broken water pumps and one non-functioning borehole for a population of more than 1,800. The team planned recommendations for repairs and construction projects to meet the needs of the local community.
In B’hai border village, local leaders have started providing plots of land for refugees, and supporting their use of wood from surrounding areas to construct emergency shelters. UNHCR and LRRRC are assessing land and working to provide construction materials such as tarpaulin and nails.
An expansion of the Toe’s Town facility is underway, including the construction of a communal kitchen, four latrine structures and four bathroom structures. In Saclepea, a warehouse has been partitioned into nine shelters for refugees, a solar powered charging facility has been built, and construction of a communal kitchen is underway.
Construction inspections were conducted at Toe’s Town and Little Wlebo reception centres by UNHCR, AIRD and LRRRC. Recommendations were shared regarding possible improvements to WaSH facilities and shelter structures.
FOOD AND CRIS
In PTP settlement, soap and sanitary napkins were distributed to more than 180 women and girls. In Nimba County, UNHCR distributed dignity kits to 90 young mothers on behalf of UN Women, and in River Gee County, UNHCR distributed 20 dignity kits and contraception on behalf of UNFPA.
In Nimba County, CRIs such as kitchen sets, sleeping mats, blankets, underwear and baby clothes were distributed. In January more than 950 refugees also received food assistance.