News / Africa

Ivorians Continue to Flee to Liberia

Ivorian refugees walk in the village of Loguatuo in Liberia
Ivorian refugees walk in the village of Loguatuo in Liberia

The United Nations refugee agency reports hundreds of refugees in the Ivory Coast continue to flee every day into neighboring Liberia in fear of civil war breaking out. The UNHCR and other U.N. aid agencies say they are boosting their humanitarian operations in preparation for a possible worsening of the situation in the country.

The U.N. refugee agency reports Ivorians are fleeing to Liberia at the rate of about 500 people a day, bringing the current refugee number to 23,000. UNHCR spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming says most of the refugees are women and children.

“They tell us that they are fleeing for pre-emptive reasons even though the civil war was over eight years ago," said Fleming  "It still is raw and fresh in their minds what kind of devastation was caused to them. They are very concerned that something like that could happen again. They are awaiting what is happening back home.”  

So far, Ivorians only have been fleeing to Liberia. But, Fleming says this could change should the situation worsen. She says the UNHCR has contingency plans in all countries bordering the Ivory Coast.  

“It depends very much on the situation within the country and where there is fighting, where there are tensions and it is very difficult for us to predict.  All we can do is maintain our readiness,” she said.  

The stalemate between Ivory Coast’s self-proclaimed President, Laurent Gbagbo and the internationally presumed winner, Alassane Ouattara, remains unresolved. Many observers fear the standoff could erupt into renewed civil war.

As it is, the UNHCR continues to assist some 13,000 Ivorian refugees who fled the 2002 civil war and remain in exile in Liberia, Guinea and Mali.  

Fleming says the new arrivals in Liberia are still being accommodated in villages. But, she notes this is untenable because the local people are very poor and cannot continue to support the refugees. She says the UNHCR hopes to relieve this burden by establishing a refugee camp.

“We are waiting the final approval of that camp. But, we have already planned the site and have established all the infrastructural items that we need to rapidly get that camp up and running and we hope that is going to happen very soon," Fleming said. "We are also anxiously awaiting a major food delivery, I think, in cooperation with WFP [World Food Program]. People are getting hungry and this is becoming an issue.”  

Fleming says the roads are very difficult. But, she expects the food will be delivered on Tuesday.  

The World Food Program reports it has airlifted 5 metric tons of high-energy biscuits into Liberia for distribution in the border area. It says this will be enough to feed 7,000 refugees over three days.

In addition, WFP says it and the UNHCR are setting up an emergency operation to assist 18,000 internally displaced people in Ivory Coast and another 15,000 refugees in Liberia for a period of 45 days.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid