Refugee flow from Togo has remained steady

Briefing Notes, 20 May 2005

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 20 May 2005, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The refugee flow from Togo to neighbouring Benin and Ghana has remained steady over recent days, with the combined total of refugees in both countries now nearly 32,000 up from 26,084 a week earlier. In Ghana, no new arrivals have been reported during the week. However, the refugees numbers increased to 14,964 compared to 10,866 a week earlier after figures were consolidated earlier this week to take account of registration of previous arrivals in remote areas through informal crossing points located by the mobile monitoring teams.

The joint mobile and registration teams with UNHCR, government and NGO staff, continue to monitor the borders, occasionally coming across small pockets of refugees who had arrived previously. On Thursday, a group of 237 refugees were located and registered by the mobile team at Lipke-Todorme in the Hohoe district. Nearly all refugees in Ghana are staying with host families, but increasingly their supplies are reaching very low levels. We are targeting our assistance with food and other supplies to ensure the hospitality of host families towards the new arrivals can be maintained.

In Benin, there are now 17,000 refugees and arrivals at the main Hilakondji border crossing are continuing at the rate of over 100 a day. Refugees are still arriving directly in the capital Cotonou with 847 registered over the last two days.

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Benin: Influx from Togo

More than 30,000 people fled Togo to seek security in neighbouring countries when violence erupted with the announcement of election results on April 26, 2005. The outflow slowed in the ensuing weeks, but Benin and Ghana continue to register daily arrivals.

More than half of the refugees arrived in Benin, many through the main crossing point at Hilakondji. The majority stayed with friends and host families, while several thousand were moved from a church compound near Hilakondji to Come and Lokossa camps. More land is being cleared at Lokossa to accommodate more of the new arrivals. UNHCR and its partners are providing food and relief items and building sanitation facilities.

In Ghana, most of the Togolese are living with relatives and friends, but these host families are now running low on resources. Aid agencies are working to meet the increasing need to distribute food and relief items like mats, jerry cans, mosquito nets and soap.

Benin: Influx from Togo

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