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Update on funding for special programmes in Africa

Briefing notes

Update on funding for special programmes in Africa

20 April 2004

Following our appeal last week for funds for two of our Africa special programmes - Liberia and Sudan - we were pleased to receive word of an $11 million contribution from the United States for Liberia. It will go a long way toward the $39.2 million we need for the repatriation and reintegration of Liberian refugees. Together with the $3 million already received from Norway, Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands and Finland for Liberia, we now have $14 million to carry out essential preparatory activities for the return of an estimated 150,000 Liberian refugees this year. We still need $25 million.

Meanwhile, the arrival back in Liberia of spontaneous returnees from Sierra Leone has temporarily slowed. But we expect it to rise again next week following food distribution in the camps in Sierra Leone. Refugees tend to wait for the food distribution in Sierra Leone before making the return trip to Liberia. UNHCR has so far helped 1,600 Liberian refugees with transport back from the border to Monrovia. We are accommodating them at the Perry Town way station and Siegbeh camp near Monrovia. Both the way station and the camp hold about 6,000 returnees who cannot return to their home areas because of security concerns, and who do not have family or relatives in Monrovia. The Siegbeh camp has been extended to accommodate up to 11,700 returnees. We also have some 3,000 returnees waiting for transportation at the Bo Waterside border transit camp.

UNHCR is also supporting UNICEF activities for demobilised child-soldiers following the resumption of the demobilisation and disarmament campaign last week. We provided 1,000 each of blankets, kitchen sets and buckets and plastic mats, as well as 300 pieces of plastic sheeting to be used in the Interim Care Centres for the benefit of the demobilised child ex-combatants. We also provided UNICEF and UNMIL with 10 trucks for the transportation of the children.

Funds available for Sudan remain at $3 million (previously received from the United States and Canada), out of $8.8 million required for preparatory activities. Although repatriation is not yet a reality in Sudan, we have deployed an emergency team in the south to prepare the ground, vehicles, trucks and telecom equipment, and pre-positioned relief material for 40,000 people. All this needs to be funded if we want to be ready once the situation stabilises and conditions are right for the return of some 600,000 Sudanese refugees from eight neighbouring countries.