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Guinea: Liberian numbers still rising

Briefing notes

Guinea: Liberian numbers still rising

21 May 2002

The number of Liberian refugees arriving in Guinea continues to rise. Some 2,000 new arrivals were registered by UNHCR teams over the weekend in Guinea's Yomou Prefecture, near the border with Liberia's Bong County. This brings to 6,411 the number of new arrivals in the Nzérékoré area over the past week.

A UNHCR mission in the Yomou area yesterday was also told by local authorities of an additional 2,400 refugees in other communes near the border. Their presence has not yet been confirmed, but we're looking into it.

Newly registered arrivals receive high-protein biscuits from WFP and UNHCR is organising their transfer to a transit site at Nonah or to Kouankan camp, according to their point of entry. There, they receive a package of essential domestic items as well as the usual food ration.

Refugees fleeing to Guinea come from northern Lofa County, torn by civil strife since 1999, or from Bong County, where new fighting erupted in recent months and where a fierce battle took place around the town of Gbarnga last week.

Work is continuing at the Nonah transit centre near Yomou, pending completion of a newly agreed site in Lainé, 60 km north-east of Nzérékoré. UNHCR is continuing the transfer of refugees from Yomou to Nonah transit camp, and from other border towns further north to Kouankan camp. Four convoys took place to Kouankan in the past 10 days, for a total of 925 refugees transferred. There are two camps for Liberians in Guinea - at Kola and Kouankan. Together, they now host a total of 27,735 refugees, more than 8,000 of them having arrived this year. In all, Guinea hosts more than 73,000 Liberian refugees, most of them living outside the two camps.