Togo: Steady outflow continues

Briefing Notes, 10 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 10 June 2005, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

There has been little change in the pace of the outflow of refugees from Togo over the last week, with the total number in neighbouring Benin and Ghana slowly climbing to 36,809 compared to 35,743 last Friday. All new arrivals are in Benin on Togo's eastern border with some 100 refugees registered daily at the main border crossing point at Hilakondji, and similar numbers registering in the capital Cotonou. Most of the new arrivals are young men, many saying they are fleeing from fear of abductions, disappearances and targeting by security forces. There are now 21,641 refugees in Benin, with nearly 8,000 sheltering at two camp sites at Come and Agame/Lokossa. The remainder are staying with family or friends. UNHCR is trucking in further non-food supplies for 2,500 people from its regional emergency stockpile in Accra, Ghana. We have also delivered 2,000 mosquito nets for internally displaced people inside Togo, as part of the UN inter-agency collaborative effort. UNHCR is planning to open a field office in Lomé shortly, and additional non-food items will be transported from Accra as part of the interagency aid effort. UNHCR welcomes the creation this week by the Togolese Government of a High Commission for Refugees and Humanitarian Aid.

In Ghana, there have been no new arrivals or departures over the last two weeks and the numbers remain steady at 15,168 registered refugees. Virtually all the refugees are staying with welcoming host families in about 200 different locations spread out over a wide geographical area from North to South Volta region, in both rural and urban areas. The distances and diversity of locations are a major challenge to UNHCR and its partners in delivering assistance targeted at supporting the refugees, host families and communities so this community living situation can be sustained.