Guinea

ACT appeal Guinea: Assitance to refugees - AFGN-31

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Posted
Originally published

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Appeal Target: US$ 944,026
Balance Requested from ACT Network: US$ 872,026

Geneva, 7 February 2003

Dear Colleagues,

Guinea continues to host refugees from Liberia, Sierra Leone and now Ivory Coast. For more than a decade it has hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone. The refugees from Sierra Leone are being repatriated gradually as there is a positive momentum of peace building and reconciliation in Sierra Leone. For the Liberian refugees, the situation looks less hopeful. Since the beginning of 2002, Liberians continue to arrive in Guinea fleeing the ongoing fighting between the government soldiers and the rebels in Northwestern Liberia. By the end of 2002, over 40,000 new Liberian refugees had been registered in Guinea. The current crisis in neighbouring Ivory Coast is resulting in even more refugees fleeing into Guinea.

The Lutheran World Federation / World Service (LWF/WS) has been the main partner of the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in providing services to the refugees living in the camps. In this appeal, LWF/WS proposes assisting 57,000 refugees through camp management, Mental Health Care, food and non food items distribution, agriculture and income generating activities along with other social services that the refugees require. In addition to assisting refugees, LWF/WS also propose assisting over 5,000 Guineans living in refugee impacted areas. It should be pointed out that due to the financial constraints UNHCR is facing in running refugee programs, the demand on its implementing partners to increase their contributions to programs is growing.

Project Completion Date: 31 December 2003

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested (US$)

Total Appeal Target(s)
944,026
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
72,000
Balance Requested from ACT Network
872,026

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
UBS SA
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2
SWITZERLAND

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

For further information : ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

Ms. Elizabeth Ferris
Co-ordinator
Diakonia & Solidarity
World Council of Churches
Thor-Arne Prois
Director
ACT
Robert Granke
Director
LWF/World Service

I. REQUESTING ACT MEMBER INFORMATION

  • Lutheran World Federation/World Service (LWF/WS), Guinea Program
II. IMPLEMENTING ACT MEMBER & PARTNER INFORMATION

In the West Africa region, LWF/DWS is operational in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mauritania and has been involved in ACT funded activities in these countries. In 1996 LWF/DWS, through its Liberia Program, established offices in Conakry and N'Zerekore in Guinea and worked with Liberian Refuges in the forest region of southern Guinea providing skills training and trauma healing in the Nonah Refugee camp. During the span of the project that lasted two years, a total of 12,000 Liberian refugees were assisted. The program in Guinea was phased out and the activities transferred to the LWF/DWS Liberia program in 1998 as the UNHCR organized repatriation of Liberian Refugees gained momentum. The ongoing upheavals in Guinea in which thousands of refugees were trapped prompted an assessment mission comprising representatives of the Liberia and Mauritania LWF Programs and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and is the basis for this ACT Appeal intended to assist Liberian and Sierra Leonean Refugees in Guinea.

LWF has been officially registered in Guinea since November 2001. LWF/WS's operations in Guinea are administratively managed by the LWF Mauritania program.

III. DESCRIPTION OF THE EMERGENCY SITUATION

As this appeal is being written thousands of Guinean returnees and refugees with mainly Ivorian and Liberian nationality are crossing the Guinean border with Ivory Coast. Since 28 November roughly 2,000 persons per day arrive at the border entry points.

Background

For more than a decade, Guinea has hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone. Most of the Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees have been living in camps along Guinea's borders with these countries. Beginning September 2000, a series of armed incursions into Guinea resulted in substantial loss of life, destruction of property, loss of crops and other means of livelihood along with the displacement of tens of thousands of Guineans and refugees. According to recent UNHCR estimates about 145,000 refugees are living in the Eastern part of Guinea of whom roughly 47,000 in camps.

Refugees from Sierra Leone are being repatriated gradually as there is a positive momentum of peace building and reconciliation ongoing in Sierra Leone. For the refugees from Liberia, the situation looks less hopeful. Since the beginning of 2002 Liberians continue to arrive in Guinea to flee the fighting between government soldiers and rebels in Northwestern Liberia. Until December 2002, the renewed crisis in Liberia has prompted nearly 40,000 new Liberian refugees to flee to Guinea. Liberians predominantly occupy camps where LWF/ACT is present.

Impact on Human Life

Until now, a total of 50,000 Sierra Leoneans have returned home from Guinea. However, some 40,000 still remain in Guinea's Albadariah camps. Displaced Guineans are returning slowly to their areas of origin. Spontaneous or facilitated repatriation of Liberian refugees from Guinea to Liberia has stopped completely due to the desperate humanitarian situation in vast parts of Liberia.

The precarious situation in Ivory Coast is presently prompting Ivorian and other West African nationals to leave the country. Many of them are seeking refuge on Guinean territory where UNHCR in partnership with LWF/ACT and other aid agencies are setting up an emergency response.

Locations involved in proposed response

Areas of southern Guinea where hundreds of thousands of refugees are presently located are targeted for this emergency and rehabilitation intervention. LWF/ACT interventions are concentrating in the Prefectures of Nzerekore, Macenta and Lola. The N'Zerekore Prefecture is an area where refugees are being resettled and where LWF/ACT focuses on the rehabilitation and reconstruction needs.

In the Kola and Kouankan camps in the N'zérékoré and Macenta Prefectures, LWF/ACT has already been providing refugee assistance since April/May 2001. Since summer 2002, LWF/ACT assistance has included Kouankan camp extension, Lainé camp in the Lola prefecture and adjacent villages. In October 2002 a possible transfer of all 34,000 refugees from Kouankan camp to the Albadariah camps near Kissidougou was announced by UNHCR, and implementing agencies are now preparing their response to this plan. As a justification for this camp transfer, UNHCR gave the sensitive security situation in Kouankan (the camp allegedly serves as rear base for ULIMO1 and LURD2 rebels from Liberia and rebels are claimed to be recruited from this camp).

Since the beginning of the emergency in the south-eastern part of Guinea, prompted by the crisis in Ivory Coast, UNHCR has transferred about 1,100 new Liberian arrivals from Ivory Coast to Lainé camp which has almost reached the limits of its capacity. Lainé camp was opened in September 2002 and is already hosting 6,000 refugees from Liberia. Negotiations with Guinean authorities about an extension for more Liberian arrivals are underway. Nonah, the place where Ivorian refugees are transferred to, is a former transit camp that was closed earlier in 2002 with all infrastructure removed. Aid agencies are rehabilitating the place and about 1,200 Ivorians have been transferred to Nonah so far (as of 13 December 2002).

Most areas in the Guinea Forest Region are extremely difficult to access during the rainy season. In collaboration with UNHCR and several other international aid agencies, LWF/DWS intervenes to meet needs that have been identified as not covered or as being inadequately covered, given the high number of refugees in the region.

Current security situation

The security situation in Guinea appears to be quite stable at the moment. A good sign is also that diplomatic encounters are taking place at high level between the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. This will be helpful in further establishing the security situation in the region. To maintain this positive momentum, it is of crucial importance that Guinea gets sufficient support in hosting the large numbers of refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as support for the local population that also had to flee, until a durable solution has been negotiated for these groups of refugees. Failing to provide sufficient levels of assistance to these refugees might result in de-stabilization at regional level. Since 28 November 2002, the relative stability in Guinea is threatened by the continuous stream of Guinean returnees and refugees from Ivory Coast arriving in high numbers of up to 2,500 persons daily at the Guinean border. Although there seems to be no immediate danger of an attack from the Ivorian side and the Guinean army has reinforced border checkpoints, UNHCR continues to move arrivals from the direct vicinity of the border as quickly as possible.

Footnotes:

1 United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy
2 Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

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