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Liberia: humanitarian operations resume for civilians

22-03-1995 News Release 12

For the first time in six months, the ICRC has been able to conduct humanitarian operations outside the Liberian capital Monrovia. Working together with the Liberian Red Cross, this month it has distributed non-food assistance to 3,447 families arriving from Nimba and Bong counties in the northern and north-eastern part of the country. According to Christian Brunner, head of the ICRC delegation in Monrovia, " it appears that these civilians have fled from areas devastated by uncontrolled armed bands " .

For the past few weeks groups of destitute people have been arriving in the town of Buchanan in  the zone held by ECOMOG troops, creating an emergency situation to which humanitarian organizations such as the ICRC have responded:  Médecins sans frontières-France has set up a reception camp, and the ICRC has distributed blankets, cooking sets, clothing and soap. Poor security conditions had made it impossible to work for civilians in this part of the ECOMOG-held zone since September 1994.

According to the displaced people, hunger is no longer a problem, since the manioc and rice harvests seem to have been good. However, in view of the destruction of medical facilities and the approach of the rainy season, serious health problems are feared in the weeks ahead.

The ICRC is continuing to furnish medical supplies to five hospitals in Monrovia and one in Buchanan.