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Liberia: IDP aid resumes as fighting subsides

Briefing notes

Liberia: IDP aid resumes as fighting subsides

3 October 2003

After a one-day halt, we are resuming our activities to ease conditions in camps for the internally displaced people (IDPs) in Monrovia. Relief efforts in the IDP camps and the inter-agency initiative to look into the security situation in the Liberian countryside were halted on Thursday. This was prompted by a gun battle that broke out on Wednesday in Monrovia as a rebel leader was on his way to meet with the interim president of Liberia.

The situation in the capital has now calmed. Peacekeepers are patrolling the streets. With the classes reopening later this month, we are making every effort to relocate IDPs from schools. Most of these schools are now being cleaned and repaired. Survey teams have identified 151,000 IDPs in 64 places, mainly schools, public buildings and private houses, in Monrovia. Around 31,000 of them are being transported to seven camps in Montserrado just outside Monrovia. The other 120,000 IDPs, mainly from Upper Lofa and Bong counties, will be moved to camps at Fendell just north of the capital.

An estimated 500,000 IDPs are scattered in makeshift camps and shelters across the country - about half of them in Greater Monrovia. We have so far distributed plastic sheeting, blankets, jerry cans and kitchen sets to 21,400 people in four of the Montserrado camps. We have also distributed the same materials to IDPs at Salala camp in Bong county in the north-eastern Liberia.

Despite the disturbances this week in Monrovia, we are optimistic that while the situation remains fragile the situation will further improve with the deployment of peacekeepers across the country. The UN in fact has announced it has eased a security alert in Liberia, allowing staff to undertake programmes to areas up to 100 km outside Monrovia to such places as Totota, Buchanan and Bo Waterside.