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Monday, April 4, 2011

Ivory Coast: Fears For 250,000 Refugees - 4th Apr 2011

Aid agencies are preparing for an influx of a quarter of an million refugees from Ivory Coast to neighbouring Liberia as the security situation deteriorates.

Workers for the charity Oxfam have warned of shortages of food and a crisis of sanitation as border towns struggle to feed those fleeing the fighting.

There are also fears that monsoon rains will make roads impassable for relief lorries.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has told relief workers to expect up to 250,000 people to arrive by the end of June, with many walking for up to five days to cross the border.

Oxfam's Olivier Germain, in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, said a widening of the fighting had seen more refugees crossing into Grand Gedeh county in the south in recent days.

So far, 80,000 people have fled the fighting, with 25,000 moving into Grand Gedeh in the past ten days as fighting moves south and another 40,000 have fled to camps set up in Nimba county in the north.

"There's a strong belief that a lot of people are still on their way or hiding in the forest over the border and haven't crossed yet," said Mr Germain. Read More