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Red Cross supports Ivory Coast refugees in Liberia

11 February 2011

Large crowd of people with hands raised hold an Ivory Coast flag aloft©Reuters/ AlertnetAs thousands flee from mounting political tensions in the Ivory Coast, the British Red Cross has given £50,000 to help refugees in Liberia.

The elections that took place on 28 November left the Ivory Coast with two presidential claimants and a country-wide divided population. As tensions increase, there have been a number of deadly confrontations in the capital Abidjan between forces loyal to the respective presidential candidates.

Efforts by regional and international bodies to support the two camps in negotiating an end to the impasse have so far been without success. As insecurity and violence in the region mounts, thousands of people have fled, seeking refuge elsewhere in the country or across the border.

Red Cross support

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched a preliminary appeal on 23 December for £875,000 to assist some 45,000 people for six months in five of Ivory Coast’s neighbouring countries.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reports more than 32,000 people have crossed into Liberia, which is now the country with the largest number of refugees and its resources are strained.

Barry Armstrong, British Red Cross disaster response manager, said: “This is a neglected and desperate humanitarian situation and we have used our Disaster Fund to donate £50,000 to the Federation appeal. The money will be used to help refugees in Liberia, where water, sanitation and relief items such as blankets, kitchen sets and tarpaulins are a priority.”

Earlier in the year, the British Red Cross also contributed £75,000 from its Disaster Fund to the International Committee of the Red Cross’ annual regional appeal for Abidjan, earmarking it for operations in the Ivory Coast.

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