IDP return in Liberia - Update 4

1.Status of Return:

To date, 41,703 IDPs have returned, of this total, 24,610 have been provided transport, food and none food items by the humanitarian community. The difference of 15,606 have returned spontaneously i.e without being offered transport but have benefited from all other forms of assistance such as food, non food items and the cash secondary transport grant. The other 1,487 have received their assistance and secondary transport grant in Ricks Transit Camp (see details below). The evidence is that more people are choosing to return spontaneously.

2.Encouraging Spontaneous Returns:

As reported in the last update, since February 1, 2005, five sites are now open to encourage spontaneous returns. These sites are Sinje, Bo Waterside, Tubmanburg, Gbarnga and Ricks. Food, non food items and the secondary transport cash grant are available in these sites. IDPs are supposed to find their own way to collect their return packages before proceeding to their home villages. Response to the first four sites has not been enthusiastic. This response could be attributed to a variety of reasons ranging from the fact that maybe the "message" has not been properly received; or that the IDPs would want to wait for other incentives in order to make the decision to move. On the other hand, the last site (Ricks), the response has been overwhelming.

3.Focus On Ricks:

Ricks is situated on the outskirts of Monrovia City and most of the IDPs residing there are from Montserrado County. This transit site was opened on the 2nd of February 2005, on a trial basis. To date, 1,487 have been assisted. WFP and UNHCR have prepositioned assistance packages in this center.

A. Registration:

During the testing period, (February 19, 2005), a total of 164 families representing 1,487 individuals were registered and provided with the resettlement packages excluding the IOM transport.

B. Methodology:

The strategy used for this category of IDPs, is intended only for those who hailed from Montserrado County and was as follows:

  • Registration conducted for IDPs from Montserrado only (i.e. Greater Monrovia, Arthington, Millsburg, St. Paul River etc.).

  • Upon registration, listing is forwarded to WFP for verification based on the feeding log. After the verification, listing is placed/posted on the camp public information boards for qualified individuals to prepare for departure.

  • Families are encouraged to demolish his/her hut before receiving the return packages including the secondary transport grant (US$5.00).

  • After receiving packages (NFIs, 2 months food ration and secondary transport), IDPs find their own transport to leave the camp, mostly in or around the nearby communities.

  • This pilot is gaining momentum in the camp and is being viewed as a means of accelerating the repatriation of the IDPs in the environs of greater Monrovia.

  • With the 1,487 families assisted up to 9th February 2005, 254 habitable huts were demolished by the IDPs themselves.

C. Observation:

1. It was observed that most of the IDPs at the Ricks internally displaced center, come from the nearby villages (i.e. Memeh, Massaquoi & Kemah Towns etc.).

2. During the exercises, vulnerable groups as well as disabled groups that previously lived in Bomi and Montserrado Counties requested for similar assistance; but due to their special needs they have been requested to wait until proper assistance be put in place before their departure.

4.Norwegian Refugees Council (NRC) Commences Preparations In Bong & Montserrado Counties:

  • Implementation arrangements between NRC and UNHCR are at the final stages. NRC accompanied by a team from the Humanitarian Coordinator's Office is currently on mission in Bong County to prepare for a comprehensive programme. In this context, NRC has procured 20 megaphones for mass information campaign.

  • NRC is responsible for 10 camps in Bong and Montserrado Counties. These camps are as follows:

A.Bong Maimu I, III & E.J. Yancy

B.Montserrado Ricks, Plumkor, Wilson Corner, Newland, Tumutu, New Sinje

  • These camps have over 100,000 IDPs between them. NRC will be taking care of all aspects of return, i.e., distribution of return Kits, Cash Grants, etc.

Office of the Humanitarian & Relief Coordinator
February 9, 2005


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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