Number of Ivorian refugees in Liberia tops 31,000 as UNHCR prepares new aid airlift
MONROVIA, Liberia, January 28 (UNHCR) - The number of refugees who have fled to Liberia to escape weeks of post-election tension and sporadic violence in neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire has passed the 31,000 mark.
According to UNHCR's latest registration figures, there are now 31,339 Ivorian refugees in eastern Liberia and a majority of them are being hosted in 26 villages in Nimba county. Most are women and children and, in most cases, they are finding shelter alongside the local community in border villages.
UNHCR teams on the ground have been gathering information about new arrivals through these local communities, where refugees are then assisted and registered.
To date, only small numbers of refugees from Côte d'Ivoire have been making their way to other neighbouring countries. There are presently about 620 in Guinea, some 170 in Togo and around 110 in Mali.
Meanwhile, a second airlift of UNHCR relief supplies to the Liberian capital of Monrovia is scheduled for this weekend. A chartered McDonnell Douglas MD11 is expected to arrive on Sunday with some 83 tonnes of aid, including 17,000 blankets, 11,400 mats, 11,400 jerrycans, 5,700 kitchen sets and 5,700 tarpaulins from an emergency stockpile in Copenhagen.
The items will be stored in the new UNHCR warehouse at Robertsfield International Airport, some 60 kms east of Monrovia, and then transported by trucks to the eastern parts of Liberia.
UNHCR's organized a first emergency airlift to Liberia on December 19 to meet the urgent needs of the first wave of Ivorians fleeing their country after the presidential election in late November.