News / Africa

Oxfam Warns of 'Forgotten Emergency' in West Africa

A group of Ivorian refugees trek onwards to the town Gborplay in Liberia, after being ferried across the Cestos river at the border with Ivory Coast in a raft (File Photo)
A group of Ivorian refugees trek onwards to the town Gborplay in Liberia, after being ferried across the Cestos river at the border with Ivory Coast in a raft (File Photo)

The International aid group Oxfam is warning the crisis in Ivory Coast is creating another “forgotten emergency” in Africa as thousands of Ivorian refugees flee into neighboring Liberia.

Tariq Riebl spoke to Voice of America from Liberia’s capital Monrovia. He says the number of Ivorian refugees in Liberia has increased dramatically in recent weeks.

"Most of the Ivorian refugees are still located right in the border regions," he said. "They have been hosted by Liberian villages, which have been very receptive, however lack public health and shelter facilities."

He says as the world’s attention is focused on political upheaval in North Africa the escalating emergency in Ivory Coast risks being forgotten.

A disputed presidential election in Ivory Coast last November sparked violence and unrest.  The incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo, is refusing to step down even though his opponent, Alassane Ouattara, is widely considered the winner.

Oxfam says refugees have been fleeing to Liberia since November, but until last month the exodus was slow paced, around 100 people a day.

But Riebl says in the past two weeks about 30,000 people have fled Ivory Coast.  He says the total number of Ivorian refugees in Liberia is around 70,000. Most, he says, are close to the border and it is too many people for the Liberians who are trying to help.

"The Liberian host community has been very receptive so far, and has been very warm in their welcome," he said. "However as the numbers have been increasing, and recently increasing rapidly, they are completely overwhelmed and unable to cope with the influx."

The head of U.S. based charity Child Fund International has told VOA the number of refugees could threaten the Liberia’s stability. Anne Goddard said Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is also worried.

Civil war ended in Liberia less than a decade ago and the country is still working toward rebuilding its shattered infrastructure.

Riebl says a lot needs to be done to make sure the refugees that have fled to Liberia are housed and have access to water and health services.

"We need to rapidly increase the set-up of camps and put up more permanent shelters further inland to be able to move people away from the border where they can have proper service delivery and also where they can be better protected from the combat that is occurring just across the border on the other side from where they are currently," said Riebl.

Anti-Gbagbo forces say they have taken control of Toulepleu, a town near Ivory Coast’s western border with Liberia, where fighting broke out on Sunday. Gbagbo’s allied forces have not confirmed the seizure.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid