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Guinea: registration of Liberians

Briefing notes

Guinea: registration of Liberians

30 August 2002

UNHCR is undertaking a major registration exercise for all Liberian refugees in three camps in south-eastern Guinea. The exercise, which is supposed to be completed by tomorrow, is meant to provide the refugees with an official status and photo identity card. In addition, it will allow humanitarian agencies to update statistics on the specific characteristics of the refugee population, including age, gender, place of origin and other details.

The registration started on August 17 in Nonah transit camp, near Yomou, where 4,720 refugees had been given wristbands by last Saturday. The estimated population at Nonah was 5,300, but some refugees were still being found this week. The wrist-banding and application of invisible ink to avoid double registration constitute the first step of any registration exercise. Final results will be known possibly by next week. Between 100 and 400 local staff were hired for this exercise, spread over a period of three weeks. Registration is also being done at two existing camps at Kouankan (near Macenta, estimated population 33,400) and Kola (near Nzérékoré, estimated population 6,700). The whole Nzérékoré sub-region, in south-eastern Guinea, is believed to host over 80,000 predominantly Liberian refugees, 44,000 of whom are assisted in UNHCR camps.

New Liberian refugees continue to enter Guinea on a small scale. Last week, our office in Nzérékoré recorded 148 new refugees who are temporarily settled in schools at Koyama (124 persons) and Fassankony (24 persons), both west of Nzérékoré on the border with Lofa County in Liberia. The new arrivals, as before, are mainly women, small children and elderly. Small groups of refugees are also reported entering Guinea in the Guéckédou area. Refugees still report difficulties in crossing the border due to security restrictions and say that more refugees are on the other side, unable to cross the border.

Transfer operations from Tekoulo transit centre, south of Guéckédou, are also continuing. UNHCR's office in Kissidougou transferred 181 refugees last week to camps in central Guinea (Albadariah region), bringing to 1,560 the total transferred since August 2. Over 2,000 refugees who have crossed the border recently are still awaiting transfer in makeshift transit centres near the borders.

The construction of a new camp in Lainé, north-east of Nzérékoré, is ongoing. The site has been cleaned up and the installation of water and sanitation systems is almost finished.

Guinea has received 25,000 new Liberian refugees this year, while 16,000 entered Côte d'Ivoire and an estimated 40,000 are in camps or in the border areas in Sierra Leone. Guinea hosts a total of 180,000 refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone, 92,000 of whom are being assisted in camps by UNHCR (including 50,200 Liberians).