UNHCR boosts presence in western Côte d'Ivoire to help the displaced

The UN refugee agency strengthens presence in western Côte d'Ivoire to cope with the needs of forcibly displaced people there.

These Ivorian refugees, photographed inside Liberia, walked from their village in Côte d'Ivoire with just a few possessions.   © UNHCR/F.Lejeune-Kaba

ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, January 18 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency has been strengthening its presence in western parts of Côte d'Ivoire to cope with the needs of forcibly displaced people there following recent clashes.

UNHCR teams have deployed in the towns of Man and Danané this week, where they'll be registering internally displaced people (IDP) and monitoring their protection needs. More than 18,000 Ivorian IDPs are believed to be in this area.

The refugee agency is particularly concerned about conditions at the Catholic mission in the town of Duékoué, where some 13,000 people have sought shelter. The church compound there does not have the sanitation facilities to cope with the numbers, garbage is accumulating, and the risks of disease are growing.

Meanwhile, in eastern Liberia work has been continuing at Bahn on the building of a new camp for refugees, but the difficult jungle conditions have made this slower going than anticipated. Two bulldozers have been brought in from Sierra Leone to speed up the clearing of land, which till now has been done by hand.

Food distribution is continuing to refugees spread across 23 villages near the border. UNHCR estimates that some 30,000 refugees have fled from Côte d'Ivoire to Liberia since the fiercely disputed presidential election in November.

As its part of the consolidated appeal being launched today in Geneva, UNHCR is seeking US$43.8 million in funds for its operations in both Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia, plus covering operations in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Ghana.