Liberia

IDP return in Liberia - Update 25

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1. Status of Return

As of the 15 July 2005, a total of 190,557 IDPs have received return assistance from the humanitarian community, representing 36,731 families. Please find the various categories detailed below.

2. Field Movement

Figures and Categories
Type of Assistance
43,426 Facilitated by IOM from the 8 November 2004 through 17 March 2005 These IDPs received transport assistance from IOM to the transit or distribution center closer to their area of return plus secondary transport allowance, plus 2 months initial WFP food rations and non food items
45,279 Spontaneously returned to their county/ district of return These IDPs received their return assistance, secondary transport allowance, food and non food items through one member of the family while others traveled to their communities of return.
101,852 Accelerated movement phase of the return beginning the 11 of March 2005 through 15 July 2005 This category of IDPs received their primary and secondary transport assistance along with the two months food ration from WFP and NFIs fromUNHCR through the agencies implementing partners in the camp.
6,747 Total Vulnerable IDPs moved by IOM These vulnerable IDP groups were transported to the nearest drop-off point to their destination and provided with secondary transportation allowance, food and non-food items.
190,557 This figure represents IDPs assisted to resettle to their respective communities. These IDPs have received all their return assistance from the humanitarian community.

3. Movement in Montserrado County IDP Camps

Distribution of return assistance is ongoing in Mt. Barclay Camp. As of 21 July 2005, out of the targeted caseload of 10,566 IDPs, WFP in partnership with Lutheran World Service has provided return assistance to a total population of 10,477 who have bonafide resettlement cards while a total number of 9,750 IDPs have been served their first two months food ration. UNHCR in collaboration with GTZ has served a population of 10,500 IDPs representing a total of 2,161 families. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has served a population of 7,181 IDPs with transportation allowance representing 1,381 families.

4. Movement in Bong County IDP Camps

De-registration and distribution of return assistance continues during the period under review at Maimu I for the remaining caseload of 8, 718 IDPs most of whom are destined for Voinjama, Kolahun, and Foyah districts in Lofa County. Out of this figure, 3,869 IDPs representing 745 families have been de-registered. As of 21 July 2005 a population of 1,934 representing 359 families had received their food items, 3,105 IDPs representing 584 families have received Non Food Items and 2,236 IDPs representing 420 households have received their transportation allowance. On behalf of UNHCR, NRC continues to provide transportation allowances to qualified beneficiaries. De-registration and distribution of return assistance continues in the camp. The situation in the camp is calm and no security/protection issues have been reported during the reporting period.

Distribution of return assistance is completed in Maimu II as of the 20 July 2005 with the distribution of transportation allowance to the remaining caseload. This includes about 100 IDPs whose districts of return are unknown but indicated that they were going to Voinjama. They were provided their secondary transportation allowance and will be transported to Voinjama by UNHCR trucks on 23 July 2005. Many of the IDPs who have received their return assistance have already left the camp for their respective homes. .

5. Trucking of Vulnerable IDPs

During the reporting period registration and trucking of vulnerable IDPs continues in Montserrado and Bong Camps by the International Organization of Migration (IOM). As of the 21 July 2005, IOM has registered a total of 17,728 IDPs and transported 6,747 vulnerable IDPs to their areas of return.

6. IDP Returnees Monitoring (Bong County)

A three man team from the IDP unit undertook a mission to Zorzor district in Lofa County from 19 -- 21 July 2005 to monitor those IDPs who have already returned home. The team met with many of the returned IDPs whom they interviewed. The general impression was that the returnees are very happy to be back home and are coexisting peacefully with their neighbors and are doing their best to rebuild their lives after a long period of displacement. The main concern reported was lack of social amenities including health, water, school, individual shelter and sanitation facilities.

7. IDP Returnees Monitoring (Lofa County)

So far, according to WFP records for 2nd food tranche distribution in Lofa County, they have assisted 59,224 returning IDPs since November 2004, and according to UNHCR about 15,000 refugees have returned in the same period. It is estimated that about 79,000 more IDPs will arrive in Lofa County by the end of the year.

8. Protection/ Security and SGBV ( Lofa County)

Due to the large number of IDPs (and returnees) who have already arrived and are expected to arrive, the major concerns are basic needs such as shelter, clean water and sanitation. In relation to property, it is a concern that female heads of family could be subject to discrimination. This has to be seen in conjunction with the fact that the legal system in the county still needs to be developed. Among returnees from Guinea it has been reported that a large majority of the heads of families are female. Numbers on female heads of families among the IDPs has to be identified in order to consider if this can is to an issue in the future.

Approximately 3,000 people in Voinjama city are without shelter according to the UNHCR Protection Unit, the majority of which are ex-combatants. There is still a level of lawlessness in regard to public drunkenness, drug use and sale, lack of an effective Criminal Justice System and unemployment -- with the increasing arrival of UN- and NGO staff a lot of people have moved into Voinjama seeking employment thus creating high competition due to limited opportunities.

The road conditions are a concern in relation to protection as it makes effective monitoring more difficult. Humanitarian agencies such as UNHCR, WFP and the PAKBAT has done a great job in repairing roads, but there are still some inaccessible areas, e.g. Vahun district is not reachable by car because several bridges are damaged or destroyed.

9. Coordination in Lofa County

In the Inter Agency Meeting at the HCS office in Voinjama, chaired by LRRRC/HCS, UNMIL informed the participants about the increasing ethnic tension in the area. This tension was reported in three different locations and concerned two ethnic groups, the Mandingo and the Loma. An illegal roadblock has been reported on the road to Kolahun, where one person was beaten up. The county depends on the UN peacekeepers (PAKBAT) for security, and the county remains at security level IV.

10. Hut demolition

During the period under review, hut demolition exercise continued and about 50 huts were demolished in Maimu III. Demolition of huts is also ongoing in Mt. Barclay camp and as of the 21 July 2005, a total of 1,282 huts have been demolished. Thus, so far cumulatively, about 26,500 huts have been demolished, out of the initial 64, 000 huts in camps and spontaneous settlements.

11. Visit to Bong County

A team led by the Head of the IDP Unit undertook a field mission to Bong County on the 20 July 2005. The team visited returned IDPs residing at Cane Community near Gbarnga where they met with some of the returnees. They also visited five of the IDP camps where repatriation has been completed or is ongoing in order to assess the current situation. The overall impression was that the humanitarian community had done a very good job in providing assistance to IDPs to return home in Bong County camps. Over 95% of the people in the camps that had been provided with assistance had returned home. The local communities had utilized the materials left by departing IDPs efficiently. In terms of addressing environmental issues, it was noted that the local communities and the land owners were now utilizing the former camps as farms. Food crops such as vegetables, bananas had been planted in the former camps. The team noted that in two months time, it will be difficult to identify the location of the former camps.

IDP Unit 07/23/05

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.