As Picherinne, 20, tried to escape the fighting that had engulfed her village in the Ivory Coast, she fled to the bush with her husband and twin babies.
But they were captured by fighters who killed her husband and took everything she had, including the babies’ clothes.
Picherinne managed to carry on with her two-month-old babies and joined other people who were traveling through the bush fleeing to neighboring Liberia.
Finding safe haven
Carrying one baby on her front and one on her back, Picherinne walked for three weeks until she crossed the border into Liberia, finally finding refuge at Zorgowee camp in Nimba County.
Since fleeing the Ivory Coast in October 2010, Picherinne and her babies have been living in a hot, empty tent and struggling to survive. They have nothing: no food, no household goods, certainly no toys for the children.
Other refugee families are overcrowded in their tents but Picherinne is alone. She did not find friends or relatives in the camp who can help with the kids or cooking, or anything else that could make life easier.
Suffering and hungry
Picherinne’s children, a boy and a girl, lie and doze on a piece of fabric in the 35-degree heat. When they wake, Picherinne prepares to breastfeed, but her milk is not enough and soon they begin to scream.
There are distributions of bulgar wheat but little else, and without enough food and water it is difficult for a nursing mother to produce good milk – especially enough for twins.
Exhausted, dehydrated and sad, Picherinne says: “The children suffer. We do not have enough to eat. They cry day and night.”
Red Cross support
Picherinne and her kids have registered with the Red Cross tracing programme and volunteers from the Red Cross will try to find her family.
Red Cross volunteers also visit regularly to talk to Picherinne, check how she is doing and offer some comfort and support.
Picherinne and many others like her desperately need food, clean water, clothes, and cooking utensils among other basic human needs in order to survive. She is unable to ask for herself, so we are asking instead. Please help and make a donation to our Ivory Coast Crisis Appeal.
Read Vanessa's story about being separated from her parents during the conflict
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.