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UNHCR to establish new camp in Liberia for refugees from Côte d'Ivoire

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UNHCR to establish new camp in Liberia for refugees from Côte d'Ivoire

31 December 2010
Map of Liberia. Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2011 Update

GENEVA - The UN refugee agency will set up a special camp to shelter the thousands of refugees from Côte d'Ivoire seeking safety in neighbouring Liberia. The more than 18,000 Ivorians who have fled chaos and fear of violence in Côte d'Ivoire following November's disputed presidential election have strained the resources of the local communities hosting them.

Ivorian refugees started to arrive in Liberian border towns on 29 November. As of yesterday (30 December), UNHCR had registered 18,091 refugees and our staff continue to register new arrivals. Some 55 per cent of those arriving are women, while 62 per cent of arrivals are under 18 years of age.

UNHCR will also deploy additional staff to reinforce its emergency team in Liberia. These personnel will be essential for establishing the new camp close to the town of Saclepea in Nimba County, where refugees are currently hosted.

A camp site planner and a health expert arrived in Liberia on Thursday with more staff to be deployed within days. The site planner is due to travel to the Saclepea area this weekend, while work on the camp is expected to start next week. Until now, local communities have hosted the refugees. But with an average of 400-500 arriving daily, it has become increasingly difficult for host communities to cope.

Meanwhile, our teams in Liberia continue to distribute emergency aid in villages where refugees are sheltered. Once registered, refugees receive plastic sheeting, blankets, jerry cans, sleeping mats, kerosene, lamps, soap, buckets, mosquito nets and other basic household items.

UNHCR has pre-positioned aid in the region to assist 30,000 Ivorian refugees and has spent some US$3 million to provide relief items from its emergency reserves. We will need donor support to continue our aid efforts in Liberia.