Togo: 1,000 arrivals registered in Benin in last week, none reported in Ghana

Briefing Notes, 3 June 2005

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 3 June 2005, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The number of refugees fleeing from Togo into neighbouring Benin is continuing at a steady rate, with over a 1,000 new arrivals registered in the last week. By contrast, in Ghana on Togo's western border, no new arrivals or returns have been noted over the last 10 days. The overall total of refugees in both countries is 35,743, compared to 34,416 a week earlier. There are 15,144 refugees registered in Ghana and 20,599 in Benin.

Refugees arriving in Benin, say they are fleeing continued abductions and disappearances by armed groups in the night which is fuelling an atmosphere of fear and revenge.

In Benin, about a third of the refugees are in two camps, while the remainder are staying with friends and family. In Ghana, where nearly all refugees are staying with host families, UNHCR, along with its partners, are providing the families and refugees with various forms of support to enable to refugees to continue to stay in this welcoming community atmosphere. Communities are being helped with items such as hand pumps to improve the water supply, food, building tools, construction advice, mosquito nets.

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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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