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Liberia: Helping displaced people return home

01-03-2001 News Release 01/08

The eight-year Liberian war that started in 1989 caused great death and suffering, including the displacement of thousands of people from their homes. As the focus of the fighting shifted, wave after wave of civilians fled the countryside, towns and villages to seek refuge in neighbouring countries or in the capital. Today, Monrovia is still temporary home to almost 3,000 displaced persons from the south. For nearly a decade, unusable or dangerous roads have prevented these people from returning to their homes. But this is changing.

On 27 February, an ICRC-chartered ship began taking on board the first 288 persons prepared to return to the area of Greenville, in Sinoe county. The ship is scheduled to make several trips between the port of Monrovia and those of Greenville and Harper, repatriating the 2,600 or so returnees so far registered in Monrovia and the surrounding area. Each passenger will receive eating utensils, bottled water, tinned meat and sardines: enough to last the voyage, which will take between 24 and 30 hours depending on sea conditions. When they land, the returnees will be picked up by trucks and buses that will ferry them to their home villages, where they will be helped to pick up the threads of their former lives.