UNHCR beefing up Côte d'Ivoire preparedness, as emergency deepens

Briefing Notes, 21 December 2010

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 21 December 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Over the past days UNHCR has been beefing up its contingency arrangements for Côte d'Ivoire in light of the continued instability there. Ahead of the weekend we airlifted additional supplies to Liberia and Guinea from our emergency stockpile in Copenhagen. We currently stand ready to cope with the needs of up to 30,000 refugees.

As of now, the number of Ivorians having fled westwards into Liberia and Guinea stands at around 6,200 6,000 of these in the Nimba County area of eastern Liberia, the rest in Guinea. Most are women and children seeking protective refuge and thus far only a handful of those in Liberia have reported actual beatings. We are not at this stage seeing Ivorians fleeing to Burkina Faso, Ghana or Mali.

As most refugees are in Liberia, we have deployed additional staff to Nimba County to ensure greater border monitoring, proper registration of the incoming refugees and to hand-out relief items. We have set up registration centers in 16 villages where we are also distributing blankets, jerry cans, sleeping mats, kerosene lamps, soap and plastic sheeting as we record refugee families.

The Liberian government has itself distributed 1.8 metric tons of rice and repaired water pumps in some villages to improve the supply of clean water, which has been in short supply since the influx began on November 29.