Humanitarian aid operations to support the return and the reinstallation of vulnerable people in Liberia

Situation Report
Originally published
Location of operation: LIBERIA

Amount of Decision: EUR 1,400,000

Decision reference number: ECHO/LBR/EDF/2006/01000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population.

1.1. - Rationale:

The 14 years of civil war in Liberia ended in August 2003 with the signature of the Accra Peace Agreement, leading to the creation of a National Transitional Government to prepare the ground for democratic elections and to bring Liberia back to a normally functioning state. Subsequently, the United Nations Mission to Liberia (UNMIL) deployed 15,000 peace keeping troops throughout Liberia to enforce the cease-fire, secure the country, allow humanitarian assistance to be provided and help the new government during the transition period. The disarmament and demobilization of more than 100,000 former fighters has been completed by end November 2004.

Presidential and legislative elections took place in October and November 2005, and Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was inaugurated as President on 16 January 2006. The composition of her government was publicly announced at the end of April 2006. Corruption had become endemic which is why the International Community had prepared an anti-corruption plan called GEMAP (Governance, Economic and Management Action Plan) that was signed on September 2005 and is now being implemented. If the security situation has significantly improved, it is thanks to the presence of the peacekeeping troops.

The war killed around 250,000 people and left approximately half of the 3 million population displaced both internally and in neighboring countries. The economic infrastructure has been totally devastated and the social fabric disrupted. Beside the material impact, the conflict also had a huge psychological impact on those who perpetrated, suffered or witnessed violence. Many children were enrolled as child soldiers, people were victim of torture and women sexually abused.

The President made an appeal to Liberian refugees in neighboring countries and IDPs to return back home, rebuild Liberia in a common effort with the Government and cohabit in peace. This found an immediate echo, and at the beginning of May 2006(1), approximately 64,000 refugees had returned from neighbouring countries with the assistance of UNHCR, while another 148,000 are still registered in refugee camps, waiting to come back. Around 200,000 Liberian returned spontaneously up country. In April 2006, the return process of approximately 320,000 Internally Displaced people (IDPs) to their areas of origin was declared finished and all camps were officially closed. However, it is estimated that approximately 20% of the former IDPs remain in the camp areas as community dwellers and are in need of ad hoc assistance.

DG ECHO(2) has been fully engaged in the humanitarian situation erected by the Liberian crisis. Pursuing this engagement in Liberia is a necessity to allow satisfactory coverage of basic services in the main affected areas, to consolidate what has been done so far, and to prepare a good phasing out strategy once development instruments are in place. The current allocations are not sufficient to address all remaining purely humanitarian needs, particularly because financial assistance by other main humanitarian donors decreased considerably between 2004 and 20053. In 2006 donors are shifting their attention to longer-term development projects, with most of the funding earmarked for governance issues such as the security sector reform and judicial reforms.


(1) UNHCR, May 2006

(2) Directorate-General for humanitarian aid - ECHO