Pregnant with her second child and fleeing fighting in her village in the Ivory Coast, Inesse Wunkaman’s two-day journey through the bush and into Liberia was a traumatic ordeal.
Inesse, 17, escaped with her husband, toddler and 16 other members of her extended family. She says: “My stomach and my feet were really hurting and we had no food as we were running away. We also didn’t have any food when we arrived or anyway of preparing or cooking food.
“I have started cutting wood from the bush and selling it to make a bit of money to buy some food, but it’s not enough for my family.”
Life as a refugee
Inesse arrived in Buuto, Nimba county two months ago, where there has been an influx of more than 17,000 refugees, creating huge pressures on food and water.
The Liberian Red Cross, supported by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, has established a water treatment and distribution plant in the community, providing about 75,000 litres of clean drinking water each day. The team operating the water plant includes Ivorian Red Cross volunteers who arrived as refugees and are now working with the Liberian Red Cross.
The Red Cross has also distributed jerry cans, buckets and hand-washing soap to more than 500 refugee and host families in Nimba to help improve the sanitation conditions of the communities.
Inesse says: “I’m due to give birth in the next month and I need to keep healthy. At first we had to go to the bush to find water from the creek but now it is easier for me and I can get it from the Red Cross. I feel good when I drink this clean water.”
Although Inesse’s village is only around 45 km away, she says: “I feel scared to go home and want to stay here for now. But we need food, clothes and household supplies.”
Read Guei's story about finding an abandoned toddler while fleeing fighting in the Ivory Coast