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Sierra Leone: Red Cross assists refugees returning from Conakry

21-09-2000 News Release 00/36

Since last Friday, with the help of the ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, staff and volunteers of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society have been assisting the returnees who are arriving in Freetown daily on ships from Conakry.

After disembarking, the returnees are given medical care, food and water according to their needs. " The majority – about 70 per cent – are women and children, and about half of them need medical attention, " said ICRC senior relief officer Lawrence Golightly. The returnees are screened by two Red Cross nurses, who give them first aid and whatever drugs they need and refer those in extremely bad shape to hospitals for further treatment. Everyone receives a ration of bread and sardines.

By Wednesday the Red Cross had registered 2,862 returnees and it will continue to provide emergency assistance in the coming days. Some returnees are reunited with their relatives on the spot; the others are transferred to the Waterloo camp for the displaced.