5 April 2011
The British Red Cross has launched an appeal in response to the growing humanitarian crisis in the Ivory Coast, which has spilled across into Liberia and other nearby countries.
Around one million people have fled the violence within the Ivory Coast, but some people remain trapped in their homes without access to food, water or medical care.
Many Ivorians are fleeing to neighbouring counties, including Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana. More than 100,000 refugees have arrived in Liberia alone and in some areas they are doubling the populations of villages.
Food and water needs
Barry Armstrong, British Red Cross disaster response manager, said: “This dramatic influx of people in Liberia is putting a real strain on villages near the border. There isn’t enough food, village wells are running dry and we are already seeing some outbreaks of diarrhoea and skin diseases, which is deeply worrying.
“The communities along the border want to support the Ivorians – many Liberians were taken in by families in the Ivory Coast when they fled violence in their own country – but the impact on community resources is huge and additional support from the international community is urgently needed.”
In the last few months, the British Red Cross has given £125,000 from its Disaster Fund to provide immediate help for people affected by the crisis, and today it released a further £350,000. However, as the situation continues to deteriorate for thousands of vulnerable families, much more is needed.
Red Cross support
The Red Cross has been helping those affected by the violence since the crisis began after last November’s disputed presidential elections.
In Liberia, the organisation is providing 100,000 refugees and host communities with water and essential items such as blankets, sleeping mats, cooking utensils and shelter materials. Hundreds of volunteers are currently being trained in disease control methods, wells are being repaired and a water treatment plant has been set up in the border village of Buutuo, providing 75,000 litres of clean water a day.
In the Ivory Coast, the Red Cross is concentrating on providing emergency healthcare, water and sanitation, and distributing relief, such as food and blankets.
Urgently needed funds
Many families have nothing after fleeing for their lives.
Please donate today and help thousands of people in a desperate situation.
The Ivory Coast Crisis Appeal will cover numerous countries including those currently affected and those potentially affected in the future. In the unlikely event that we raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help us prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters either overseas or here in the UK.