IDP return in Liberia - Update 29

Situation Report
Originally published
1. Status of Return
As of the 19 August 2005, a total of 207,308 IDPs have received return assistance from the humanitarian community, representing 40,052 families. Please find the various categories detailed below.

2. Various Categories of 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 a secondary transport allowance from UNHCR. They also received 2 months initial WFP food rations and non food items from UNHCR.
45,279 Returned on their own and also linked to the International Organization of Migration (IOM) facilitated IDPs movement above. 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. These items were donated by the agencies highlighted above.
118,603 Accelerated movement phase of the return beginning the 11 of March 2005 through August 19 2005. This category of IDPs received their primary and secondary transport assistance along with the two months food ration from WFP and NFIs from UNHCR through the agencies implementing partners in the camp.
9,589 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.
207,308 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 backlog cases especially in the form of transport allowance in Mt. Barclay, Perrytown and Jahtondo continued during this reporting period. The IDP Unit also visited Mt. Barclay and witnessed the fact that nearly 90% percent of the total population of the camp had vacated after receiving their return assistance.

4. Camps and Spontaneous Settlements -- Protection

Nearly 208,000 IDPs have received return assistance so far. It has been observed that an increasing number of shelters in the remaining formal IDP camps and spontaneous settlements within Montserrado County have been severely damaged by the ferocity of this years rainy season. An initial assessment report from NRC indicates that more than four thousand huts have been affected. The IDP Unit is appealing to the humanitarian community in Liberia to provide temporary shelter materials for the effected IDP population. Thus far there has been little response by way of contributing such material.

In the camps where distribution has not yet started, there are only several camp management teams remaining. The reason given is primarily due to lack of funding. This is due to the lack of funding for Camp Management activities for NGOs, both international and national. However, the situation is somewhat alleviated by the presence of NRC monitors present in some of the formal camps and spontaneous settlements. The NRC project is funded throughout the year.

All of the spontaneous settlements and camps in Liberia have water hand pumps. There are schools present in eight of the remaining camps but only in three of the spontaneous settlements. There are observations and reports that all the camps and spontaneous settlements have insufficient latrine facilities, NGOs and service providers have informed IDP monitors that this is mainly due to lack of funding.

5. Movement in Bong County IDP Camps

Maimu I

Distribution of transportation grant to the remaining caseload in Maimu I was resumed on 17th August 2005. Distribution of food and NFIs was completed since August 10, 2005. A total of 395 IDPs representing 84 families received their transportation grant by the close of day on August 17th. Except for 25 IDPs representing 5 families whose names could not be found on the revised log, all the remaining eligible IDPs in Maimu I have now received their complete return package. This brings to a total of 21,231 IDPs who have received their return package in Maimu I. Most of these IDPs have already left the camp and many more continue to leave daily.

IOM Movement

After suspending her activities in Bong County for four weeks, IOM resumed the transportation of vulnerable IDPs on August 18, 2005. The first convoy made up of 250 vulnerable IDPs and their families left Maimu I on August 19 2005 destined for Zorzor and Voinjaman in Lofa County. This brings the total number of vulnerable IDPs and their families transported by IOM since the process began in Bong County in April, 2005 to a total of 6,403. A second which is also the last convoy carrying registered vulnerable IDPS and their families in Bong County is planned for departure from Maimu I on August 21 2005.

Hut Demolition

Owing to the delay in payment of transportation grant, not many IDPs were able to leave the camp during the past week; hence not many huts were demolished during the reporting period. Accurate figures are difficult to obtain, however, it is estimated that close to 2,000 huts in Maimu I are now demolished.

Protection Issues


On the whole, the security situation in Maimu I is calm and IDPs reported being safe and secure. Nevertheless, few case of burglary has been reported. A woman was stabbed on the hand during one of these burglaries. The injury was small and she has since departed the camp for her home. No one was apprehended for the crime.

Unaccompanied Elderly

Two unaccompanied elderly (1 woman and 1 man) living in Maimu I who did not have WFP cards hence were not eligible for return assistance were transported by IOM to destinations in Lofa. A report was earlier made on these vulnerable IDPs who were alone in the camps without any form of support. After thorough investigations in the camp, IDPs who hailed from the same area as the unaccompanied vulnerables and knew their families were identified. These IDPs agreed to take care of the UAEs during the journey and deliver them to their relatives. There remains one UAE in the camp who claims he does not have any relative and was not able to tell us where he originally came from. His case is still being investigated.

Salala IDP Camp

Rape case

Follow up was made on a case reported last week in which a 22 year old woman was raped in Salala on August 8 2005. The survivor was visited on August 16 and considering the circumstances, she seems to be doing well and have started normal activities. She has been undergoing medical treatment at MSF clinic but has not yet received any psychosocial assistance. Counseling has been scheduled for her at ARC. We were also informed that the case was withdrawn from the police for home settlement hence the alleged perpetrator was released from police custody.

Camp conditions

Residents of Salala IDP camp are anxiously waiting for the commencement of the repatriation process in their camp. Conditions in the camp are fast deteriorating with many of the shelters leaking and many toilets overfilled. Only 45 toilets out of the original 108 toilets are in use. It is therefore recommended that plans be made for the commencement of repatriation as soon as possible. In the absence of such a plan, service providers will be encouraged to provide plastic sheeting to those whose shelters are leaking and sanitary conditions be improved in the camp so as to prevent the outbreak of diseases.

Second Trench Food Distribution

Distribution of second trench food for qualified IDPs in Bong County was carried out by WFP through their implementing drivers during the period under review. Distribution was made at Gbarnga Transit Center from the 16-18 August. A total of 1 837 former IDPs received representing 333 families received their second trench food at Gbarnga. .

Road assessment mission

The team from IDP Unit went on a joint mission with WFP on 19 August 2005 to assess the state of the Totota -- Sanoyea road. Due to the poor state of this road, WFP could not transport food items for second trench distribution to returnee IDPs and refugee in Sanoyea district. It has been reported that some rehabilitation work has been done lately. The purpose of the mission is therefore to find out whether the road is accessible for WFP to transport food items. According to the findings of the team, two bridges need to be rehabilitated before the road can be accessible to WFP trucks. This was brought to the attention of the chief of the area who promised to mobilize his people to rehabilitate the bridges on August 22.

6. Trucking of Vulnerable IDPs

During the reporting period, registration and trucking of vulnerable IDPs continued in Montserrado and Bong Camps by the International Organization of Migration (IOM). As of 19 August 2005, IOM has registered a total of 23,273 IDPs and transported 9,781 vulnerable IDPs to their areas of return.

7. IDP Returnees Monitoring (Lofa County)

The Unit conducted monitoring in three communities south of Voinjama, in Voinjama District. Although there are returned IDPs in some of these villages, the majority of the villages visited in the period are mandingo-returnees from the camps in Guinea. In Bakiedou town and Jarmulor town where the team visited, the major concern in the communities is a lack of potable water. These are communities of about 5,500 and 2,000 inhabitants, and have only one working water-pump. The lack of a local health facilities and schools was raised as serious problems in both Jarmulor town and in the village of Womanon. During this monitoring session the Unit's attention was drawn to the difficult situation single-mothers and disabled person may face in the return environment, particularly in Bakiedou, the Unit was informed that many mothers are now alone because their husbands were killed during the war. As in other communities, the Unit discovered that cases of domestic violence are dealt with locally and traditionally rather than taken to the authorities. The communities, however, report the absence of the LNP, while in both Bakiedou and Jarmulor, CIVPOL is patrolling the surrounding area. Whether or not the LNP is riding within CIVPOL vehicles is yet to be determined.

The Unit has drafted a monitoring plan for the months of August and September. According to the plan, two monitoring missions will be conducted each week. Since the Districts of Foya, Kolahun and Vahun are inaccessible by car, the Unit will focus on the Districts of Voinjama, Zorzor and Salayea. These districts have also so far received the largest number of returning IDPs. So far the Unit has conducted monitoring in 15 communities in the Districts of Voinjama (10), Zorzor (4) and Kolahun (1).

8. IDP Returnees Monitoring (Bomi, Gbrapolu, Grand Cape Mount Counties)

According to IOM/UNHCR and WFP de-registration of IDPs, a total of 17,696 family heads representing 100,644 families and 18,025 family heads representing 102,456 families originating from the Western Region (Bomi, Gbarpolo, Grand Cape Mount) have received their return packages as of 16 August 2005. This represents 86% of the total IDPs having received return assistance. This represents an increase of 329 family heads and 1,812 families since the last reporting period.

The following crime statistics were reported by LNP, Tubmanburg; 11 simple assaults, 2 robberies, 1 disorderly conduct, 4 reports of property theft, and 4 reports of suspected robbery a total of 24 cases overall. 5 cases have been sent to court and 17 cases have been solved and 2 cases have been transferred to MO Central Headquarters. These statistics are so far only available from LNP Tubmanburg. As noted in last week situation report, the Superintendent reported an increase in crime. This is not reflected in the number of crimes reported by LNP to UNHCR. LNP has serious capacity limitations and this affects their ability to discharge their responsibilities effectively.

Bamballa Health Clinic was visited and at present AHA (UNHCR IP) has not commenced with the rehabilitation of the health clinic. During a fact finding mission 4 weeks ago, African Humanitarian Action (AHA) reported that they would commence work within a week. There is to be a follow up with AHA in the coming week.

9. Protection/ Security and SGBV (Lofa County)

A team from UNHCR IDP Unit conducted protection monitoring within several villages south of Voinjama, in the Voinjama District. The first town visited was Bakiedou. The town has about 5,558 inhabitants half of what it was before the war. The majority of the inhabitants visited were returning refugees but there were some IDPs among them. The town has a functioning clinic but there is a shortage of medicine. The town has about 8 water pumps, half of which are functioning properly. There are a total of 74 latrines within the town courtesy of Peace Winds Japan (PWJ). Currently, there is only 1 functioning school built by PWJ and has 411 students enrolled. The village has a Women Council consisting of 54 members. They deal mainly with the issue of single mothers who lost their husbands during the war and have to provide for their children. A mechanism helping these single mothers, however, is absent within the town. The chief of the village did not report any incidents of crime. The chief stated that criminal activity within the village would be dealt with in the traditional council or the Peace Council. UNMIL's CIVPOL patrol's the town on a regular basis as do immigration authorities.

The remaining villages visited including Jarmulor and Womanon are quite similar as neither of them have clinics or schools. Jarmulor and Womanon both have only one functioning water pump which is insufficient considering their populations, and the increase in arrival of former refugees and IDPs. Both towns deal with criminal activity through their own traditional Peace Council. These towns are both very vulnerable as CIVPOL occasionally patrols Jarmulor, but there have been no reports that CIVPOL, or any other law enforcement body for that matter, have been patrolling Womanon.

10. Hut demolition

During the period under review, hut demolition figures were not reported. It is believed, however, that very few huts were demolished in the reporting period as the backlog in transportation allowance prevents people from leaving the camps. So far, about 29,812 huts have been demolished, out of the initial 64,000 huts in camps and spontaneous settlements.

IDP Unit

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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