When Guei’s village was attacked in the Ivory Coast, everyone scattered. Guei, 24, was separated from her family but as she fled she found a toddler lost in the turmoil.
Guei ran with the child to a nearby village but found it deserted. She decided to carry on and make her way to Liberia.
They travelled through the bush with others who were fleeing, but four women and children were captured and taken back to the Ivory Coast. Guei and the little girl managed to escape.
Guei spent two gruelling weeks walking through the bush until she crossed the border into Liberia. She has carried the young girl all the way to a transit camp a few kilometres from the Ivory Coast. Guei and the little girl are among 1,200 refugees sheltering there.
In the camp, the little girl sits quietly on Guei’s lap. They have clearly formed a close bond over the past couple of traumatic weeks.
Guei says: “I feel so sick and tired. We’ve had no real food for the past two weeks. I’m very hungry.”
As thousands of refugees in host communities in Liberia are stretching resources to the limit, the Red Cross is providing clean water and essential items such as blankets, sleeping mats, cooking utensils and shelter materials.
Reuniting lost families
When Guei arrived at the transit camp, a Red Cross volunteer, Mathurin, greeted her. Mathurin, himself a refugee from the Ivory Coast, recognised Guei from back home.
When he arrived in the transit camp, Mathurin decided to volunteer with the Liberian Red Cross because he’s also a volunteer back home with the Ivorian Red Cross.
Mathurin said: “I am working here to help identify children who have been separated from their families. When I saw Guei I went and spoke to her and told her about how we are registering children and trying to help reunite them with their families.”
Guei has registered the child on the Red Cross tracing programme and volunteers will try to find her family.
The Red Cross’ international tracing and message services reconnect families who become separated in the confusion caused by conflicts and natural disasters.
Support our life-saving work by donating to our Ivory Coast Crisis Appeal.
Find out how we’re helping people affected by fighting in the Ivory Coast