Mano River Report: Vulnerables
24 May 2002
The day following the last of the convoys out of Blama displaced camp, a quick visit showed a disturbing sight. There were a group of a few hundred people who were not given transport, and who were still living in the camp. The mark from where a fire had been burning just near the road leading into the camp could be seen. "During the night there are thieves who come into the camps and harass us when they are looting. We all had to move down here and make a fire to try to be safe." When asked why they were still there, it was simply a lack of money for transport. Displaced woman age approximately 35 Blama camp, Sierra Leone "I sold my non-food package already and that is enough to pay for me and my child, but not my property. I have already missed the date for my food supply in Sewafe. I hope that someone will take pity on me and not charge me for my bundle." Among this group was a single mother with her sick four-year-old daughter (her husband and three sons had been killed in the war), and a young man in a wheelchair left behind to be "voluntarily repatriated." The results of providing no medical screening before resettlement begins tends to be felt most among the vulnerable population. For those voluntary re-settlers who left Mile 91 and Grafton camps, six full-term pregnant women were identified by MSF at the distribution site on one particular day; one of the women went immediately into labor, two others were rushed to the hospital after collapsing from dehydration and exhaustion. When OCHA was asked about the medical screening for these people they said that it was up to the displaced to have asked for facilitated return.