- Ivorians are gradually going home from their short refuge in Liberia after the situation in Côte d'Ivoire is getting calmer. This has facilitated a resumption of the repatriation of thousands of Liberian refugees from throughout the region.
Ivorian refugees sheltering in neighbouring Liberia are gradually making their way back to Côte d'Ivoire as they feel the situation is calmer, the UN's refugee agency UNHCR today informed. Registration of new arrivals from Côte d'Ivoire stopped already last week.
More than 10,000 Ivorian arrivals had been registered in Nimba County, in north-eastern Liberia, since the start of the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire on 6 November. "However, at the moment we do not have figures for those returning home as the refugees were dispersed over a wide area and frequently staying with local families," said UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis at a press conference in Geneva today.
Meanwhile, UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP) agreed this week to start food distribution to refugees in the Liberian village Butuo and 21 other locations along the border.
- The lack of basic infrastructure is the biggest challenge facing UNHCR and its partner agencies, with helicopters needed to airlift relief items because of the poor state of the roads, said Ms Pagonis. UNHCR is working with local Liberian authorities and non-governmental organisations to rebuild roads, bridges and clinics.
The situation in Côte d'Ivoire is currently calm and UNHCR international staff have returned. The agency's staff was evacuated together with other UN personnel and foreigners earlier this month after militias close to the government of President Laurent Gbagbo attacked all Westerners in the country.
Included in the influx of refugees from Côte d'Ivoire to Liberia were about 1,000 Liberian refugees. There are some 70,000 Liberian refugees in Côte d'Ivoire, part of the 350,000 Liberians who fled their country's 14-year civil strife and took shelter in other African nations.
In October this year, UNHCR began a massive operation for the voluntary repatriation of Liberian refugees. As part of this ongoing programme, two flights are leaving Accra, Ghana today bringing home 222 Liberians, joining another 219 which returned on flights yesterday.
- There will be four more airlifts from Ghana in the coming weeks. In the past two months, more than 2,500 Liberians have repatriated with UNHCR assistance, Ms Pagonis said today.
The UN agency's repatriation programme of Liberian refugees had been threatened by the sudden massive influx of Ivorians in the still war-ravaged country. Large-scale reconstruction efforts have yet to start in Liberia and UNHCR has had to limit the repatriation in line with the possibilities of receiving the returnees.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.