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Over 6,000 Togolese Refugees Now In Benin And Ghana

Insecurity in Togo has resulted in more than 6,000 people crossing the borders into Benin and Ghana, with most of them going to Benin.

Jennifer Pagonis is with the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR. From Geneva, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the Togolese refugees.

She says, “The situation in Lome’ seems to be a bit calmer today, but still the numbers of refugees are climbing. We’ve now got about 6,200 refugees that have come into Benin and about 600 in Ghana. Now, the numbers in Ghana have remained stable over the last day or so. But the numbers in Benin continue to climb.”

Provisions are being made for the refugees.

Ms. Pagonis says, “We already had pre-positioned prior to the elections stocks for about 2,500 people in Benin, which we felt would hold us through any kind of short term outflow of people. We’re now sending a ten-truck convoy from our regional warehouse in Accra, Ghana to Benin. There’ll be supplies on there for 5,000 people. These are things like plastic sheeting, blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, the basics of life, mainly non-food items. WFP (World Food Program), I think, will be able to provide food for people.” This will be the first in a series of convoys from Accra.

What about refugee camps?

She says, “There are two camps that have been set up, one at a place called Come’, where there’s about 700 people. And also there’s another camp at a place called Lokassa, which can receive up to about 5,000 people. Nobody’s been relocated there yet just because most of the refugees have been saying, or many of them saying, they didn’t want to go to a camp. There’s a lot of strong family ties, ethic and tribal ties in that region. So many people have gone to live with host families.”