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Liberia: Red Cross steps up help for Ivorian refugees

28-01-2011 News Release 11/26

Monrovia (LNRCS) – With the Ivorian refugee population in Liberia increasing and spreading over several communities bordering Côte d’Ivoire, the Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS) continues to step up its assistance to the refugees and their host communities.

According to the UNHCR, 30,299 Ivorian refugees had been registered in Liberia as of 20 January. The LNRCS, with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies and the Danish Red Cross, has been helping refugees in Guoguatuo, Dulay, Zualay, Kentorkpoglay, Nyatuo, Sertontuo, Kparlay, Zorgowee and Zar-Tarpa.

“Some 400 to 600 new refugees are arriving every day, leaving host communities unable to cope with the demand for food, water, shelter, and sanitation,” says Daniel Clarke, Secretary General of the Liberian Red Cross.

The LNRCS has trained 51 volunteers in hygiene promotion, social mobilization and restoring family links. They in turn are now briefing host communities on hygiene and are helping restore contact between family members. The Society is enhancing its first aid, hygiene promotion and tracing services for refugees, and the ICRC, the Federation and the LNRCS have deployed teams to support the Nimba branch of the National Society.

Since the population movement started in December 2010, the Federation and the ICRC have provided the LNRCS with jerrycans, buckets and soap, which the National Society has passed on to over 1,100 people – both refugees and hosts.

Wells and pumps have been renovated in Dulay, Kentorkpoglay, Guoguatuo, Kpolay and Zualay. With community participation, the Red Cross has dug pits for household latrines, procured materials locally and deployed construction teams.

LNRCS volunteers have collected almost 150 “safe and well” messages, sent 76 messages to Côte d’Ivoire for distribution, and made ten calls to family members. The LNRCS and the ICRC are currently working on restoring contact between 22 children and their families.

For further information, please contact:
Maxwell George, LNRCS Monrovia, tel: +231 7 791 9927 or +231 658 3746
Carla Bou Kheir, ICRC Monrovia, tel: +231 651 99 67 or +231 77 55 65 33
Ademola Alao, International Federation Abuja, tel: +234 98 70 39 24