Media Advisory: More Ivorian refugees entering Liberia amid fear of political violence

Ivorian refugees continue to flee into eastern Liberia in Nimba County. To date, UNHCR and the local authorities have recorded a total of 15,120 refugees from villages between Danane and Guiglo in western Côte d'Ivoire while a further 4,000 arrivals have been reported.

The majority of the refugees are women and children, with 62 percent below 18 years of age. The refugees are a mixed group of supporters of both Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo.

They say they fled due to fear that the political deadlock might lead to civil war.

The flow of Ivorian refugees into Liberia has continued since November 29. They are mostly from Ligbepleu, Tuopleu, Doupleu, Gbeadapleu, Gbinta and other villages between the towns of Danane and Guiglo.

As the refugee numbers grow, their presence is putting a strain on the local communities hosting them. Clean water, shelter and food remain the most pressing needs for refugees and the villagers alike as they have very little to survive on. Moreover, the houses are becoming overcrowded.

We are working with members of the Liberia Refugees Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) to identify more villages to host the increasing number of refugees. At the same time, we are in talks with the government regarding the possibility to set up a camp.

In the meantime, UNHCR teams are distributing emergency aid across nearly 20 villages. As we register incoming refugees, we are providing them with plastic sheeting, blankets, jerry cans, sleeping mats, kerosene lamps, soap, as well as other basic household items.

UNHCR currently has supplies to cover the needs of up to 30,000 Ivorian refugees.