Liberia: UNHCR emergency team on the ground in Monrovia
UNHCR now has an emergency team on the ground in Monrovia, trying to re-establish our operational presence there, against the odds of logistical difficulties and continued insecurity in most parts of the Liberian capital. We are currently registering Sierra Leone refugees who wish to leave Liberia by boat. At the same time, UNHCR is gearing up for a larger scale relief operation to help up to 300,000 people uprooted by the civil war.
The effort to mount a relief operation is marred not only by a fragile security situation but also by lack of fuel, trucks and other aid supplies. UNHCR currently has three trucks and it will take at least another 5-7 days before additional trucks can be flown/shipped in. We are looking into hiring some locally, but it will likely take another few days to offload containers from the arriving boats.
The UNHCR office compound in Monrovia is still crammed with Sierra Leoneans living in dire conditions which makes it unfit to serve as an office. The actual office work is therefore being done in the representative's residence. Movement inside Monrovia is restricted to the central part of the city and even there the situation, especially at night, is not completely safe, with continued looting by militia, even though most checkpoints in central Monrovia were removed on Thursday.