News / Africa

    Ivory Coast Refugees Settle In for Long Stay in Liberia

    Refugees from Ivory Coast walk with their their belongings through Grand Gedeh county in eastern Liberia March 23, 2011.
    Refugees from Ivory Coast walk with their their belongings through Grand Gedeh county in eastern Liberia March 23, 2011.

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Ivorian refugees who backed former president Laurent Gbagbo say the new government in Abidjan has not made it safe enough for them to return home. Amnesty International says Ivory Coast security forces are creating a climate of fear. As refugees in Liberia settle in for a longer stay, authorities are trying to move them into larger camps.



    Nearly 6,000 Ivorians live in a camp near the Liberian town of Duogee. Most are from the Guéré ethnic group who backed former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo.

    Crippling fear

    Zoignan Honore Kpehie, 67, says he and his family were chased from their home by fighters loyal to the current president Alassane Ouattara. He says they are too afraid to return because Ouattara forces remain in Guéré villages as part of the new national army.

    Kpehie says the whole family was sick when they got to the camp. Now that they are here, he says, they do not know what to do. Kpehie says going back to Ivory Coast is a problem because the Ouattara rebels are still there, so their security is not guaranteed. Personally, he says, I am not ready to go back to Ivory Coast.



    Ivorian English teacher Yves Beh Bah came to Liberia through Guinea. He says some ethnic Mandingo refugees who crossed the border farther north - and who generally back President Ouattara - are starting to return home. But Ivorians from southern provinces who voted for Gbagbo are staying put, he says, because it is not safe enough to go back.

    “I am hunted, OK? I am hunted," he said. "They want to kill me. And for me I am not ready to go back to that Ivory Coast even if it causes me to spend more than 12 years to 15 years here. I think I will do that because there is no security in my country.”

    Relief effort

    So relief groups at the Duogee camp are gearing up for a longer stay.  Doctors Without Borders is building a new hospital. The U.N. refugee agency has shifted the camp's status from transitional to more-permanent, which means tents will be replaced by sturdier shelters of mud block, bamboo, and plastic sheeting.

    Caritas organizes food distribution for refugee families, more than half of whom have only a mother in the camp. UNICEF is running primary school classes through the summer for Ivorian students who missed much of their academic year.

    Most of the camp expansion will be in Grand Geddeh county with the two biggest camps at a former logging compound and here at Duogee.

    Water shortage

    The site's 24 water taps and six boreholes will not be enough for the new arrivals. Drilling more takes time as the water table here is deep. James Chokpelleh manages the camp through the Norwegian Refugee Council.

    “We have some difficulties in terms of water," explained Chokpelleh. "So in terms of water supply we need more assistance to enable our refugee population to have adequate water provided for them.”

    This camp is expected to triple in size by the end of the year as authorities work to settle 80,000 refugees into larger camps. The plan predicts 30,000 Ivorians will remain in local villages and another 30,000 will go home.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.