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UNHCR building refugee camp for Ivorians in Liberia, assisting displaced in Côte d'Ivoire

© UNHCR / F.Lejeune-Kab

Early January saw the number of registered Ivorian refugees in Liberia rise to 22,000, leading UNHCR to step up the delivery of food and other aid to the new arrivals. The refugees, mostly women and children, have fled because of mounting tension in the country since the presidential election in late November. Most are from western areas of Côte d'Ivoire and are in urgent need of food, shelter and clean water, which are all in short supply in Liberia's Nimba County, where the refugees are arriving.

There are now 25,000 Ivorian refugees in Liberia, with around 600 people arriving daily. With people continuing to flee westwards from Côte d’Ivoire, UNHCR has recently started work on a new camp for 18,000 refugees in the eastern Liberian town of Bahn.

The camp is urgently needed to better protect the refugees and to ease pressure on Liberian communities that have hosted the displaced Ivorians. UNHCR hopes to complete work over the next two weeks on a reception area at the Bahn site from which refugees will be relocated into the main camp. The site will provide services including health, water, sanitation, and schooling. 

Meanwhile, we are continuing to deliver aid to villages on the border with Côte d’Ivoire where refugees are located.  Indeed, we have begun the distribution of plastic sheeting, blankets, mats, kitchen sets and other household items to more than 10,000 refugees in the Buutuo area.

In western Côte d’Ivoire, some 16,000 people have been forced to leave their villages and take refuge in the towns of Duékoué, Man and Danané. Calm has started to return to Duékoué, which is allowing humanitarian agencies such as UNHCR to assist the displaced.