Guinea + 2 more

IRC provides emergency aid for newly displaced in Guinea

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News and Press Release
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The International Rescue Committee reports the situation is dire for half a million Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees and thousands of Guineans who are fleeing a resumption of violence in southeastern Guinea.
Sporadic rebel attacks since September in the areas of Macenta, Gueckedou and Forecariah triggered mass population movements north towards Conakry and Kissidougou, and trapped tens of thousands of refugees south west of Gueckedou. Prior to September, this region was relatively stable and was home to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The conflict has resulted in the frequent suspension of international aid programs and access to Gueckedou and Macenta remain tenuous.

Tens of thousands of refugees are now clustering between Gueckedou and Kissidougou in southeastern Guinea. The UN High Commission for Refugees is establishing four new refugee camps at Dabola in central Guinea, and the IRC will be assisting with their construction. This will include the building of schools, wells and sanitation facilities.

Meanwhile Albadaria, north of Kissidougou, is receiving thousands of displaced refugees weekly. The IRC is there, providing hot meals and helping identify vulnerable cases for health treatment or special assistance. In addition, the IRC is working to relocate refugees and displaced Guineans to Albadaria from the more insecure Nyadedou camp, farther south. In both camps the IRC is providing assistance to separated children. At this time, 59 unaccompanied minors have been identified and the IRC is working to find their relatives and family members.

The IRC is also conducting tracing programs in Conakry for separated children from Sierra Leone, who are at a transit center awaiting passage home. Jacqueline Botte, IRC's program coordinator for unaccompanied minors is working with the IRC in Sierra Leone, as well as other aid organizations to facilitate cross-border tracing.

Finally, the IRC is preparing to launch emergency education programs, with the hope of re-establishing its formal schools for refugees in Guinea. Prior to the conflict, the IRC was running 135 schools for more than 70,000 students. The IRC is also looking into restarting its comprehensive community health programs.

Since September, IRC's regional coordinator for West Africa, Timothy Bishop has met regularly with U.S. government officials and representatives from other aid organizations to press for increased protection for Guinea's refugee and displaced populations and international efforts to promote stability. "The conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia have spread into Guinea and this is now a regional crisis," said Bishop. "The situation requires an internationally negotiated political solution and until that happens, humanitarian aid is but a band aid on a festering wound."

The Guinean government estimates that over one thousand people have been killed since September.

Contacts

Timothy Bishop, Regional Director
Phone (212) 551-0989
eMail: timothy@theIRC.org

Ezra Simon, Program Specialist or Holly Groom, Program Specialist
Phone (212) 551-3062
eMail: Wafrica@theIRC.org

Media Queries

Melissa Winkler, Director of Communications
Phone: (212) 551-0972
eMail: melissa@theIRC.org