Print options

January 12, 2011

WFP to Increase Assistance for Ivorian Refugees in Liberia

by Julia Ritchey

The United Nations World Food Program says it is scaling up its emergency operations to provide food to more than 22,000 Ivorians in Liberia who have fled the political crisis in Ivory Coast.

"Yesterday we got into the new phase of distributions, what we call the general food distributions, where we could reach the target number of 22,500 people,” explained Malek Triki, a spokesman for the group.

The WFP is distributing rations of cereals, vegetable oil, and a corn-soy blend that will meet the nutritional needs of these refugees for one month.

But logistical challenges remain. Triki says one of the biggest obstacles is trying to reach all the refugees who are dispersed across 23 villages.

“There are huge logistic challenges because of the bad roads, broken bridges,” the spokesman added. “The infrastructure in Liberia is terrible, so it's an uphill struggle just to get to the area.”

Aid agencies say distribution of relief supplies will continue to be a problem until a refugee camp is built. The Liberian government has approved plans for a camp, but Triki says it may be mid-Februrary before it is completed.