News / Africa

Aid Agency Calls For Urgent Funding For Ivorian Refugees In Liberia


Douglas Mpuga

As fighting continues in the Ivory Coast commercial capital Abidjan between fighters backing Alassane Ouattara, Ivory Coast's internationally-recognized president, and soldiers still loyal to the incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo who is refusing to step down, thousands of refugees are pouring into neighboring countries.

Humanitarian aid agencies are warning that time is running out to get help to neglected refugees fleeing the once prosperous West African nation.

“More than 100,000 people have already crossed the border from Ivory Coast to Liberia, twenty thousand in the last week alone,” said Caroline Gluck, the humanitarian press officer of the aid agency OXFAM.

Most of these people, she said, “are living in difficult to access remote border villages.  It is quite a challenge to get to these areas.”

Gluck who has just been to the border areas said the refugees are living in dire conditions in border villages. “The rainy season begins next month and the rains have already started. We tried to take in water to help the community which has doubled in size because of the refugee influx and the truck overturned because the road is in such a bad condition. So it is really quite a challenge getting help to the refugees.”

She appealed to the refugees to move a little bit inland so that they can be helped in larger centers more effectively and easily.

“So far there is no sign that has happened. Unless more is done to get people to safe and serviced areas further inland, they risk being cut off as the rainy season approaches.”

Gluck said many families were separated during the conflict and there are many mothers with their young children who are separated from their husbands or young children who fled on their own without parents.

She said although the United Nations has built a camp in one town that can hold nearly 20,000 people only 2500 people are living there at the moment.

“That is partly because a lot of these refugees prefer to live near the border,” she explained, “because they think it is easier to move back across the border when things return to normal.”

“There has also been a campaign of disinformation by some villagers who are telling the refugees that if they go to the camps terrible things will happen to them,” she added.

“Some villagers think if the refuges stay with them they will get more help too.”

Gluck, however, commended Liberians for their generosity to the refugees, saying many had opened their homes; they are hosting refugees, providing food and even clothes.  

“But generally these are poor subsistence farmers who have very little themselves,” she said.

Gluck noted that the emergency plan that has been drawn by the United Nations and others to help people in Liberia and Ivory Coast is still under 50 percent funded so there is a critical need for funding.

That funding, she said, “needs to come now because everyday thousands of refugees are coming over. Also when donors make commitments it takes a while for aid to get dispersed into aid on the ground.”

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs