MSF concerned about the fate of tens of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people trapped by recent fighting in Liberia
The protection of and assistance to these populations can no longer be guaranteed.
1 April 2003
In central Liberia's Bong county, new offensives forced some 30,000 people to flee as fighting approached the outskirts of Monrovia, the capital city.
Paris, Geneva, Brussels - Following violent combat in Liberia, some tens of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons are now cut off from desperately-needed aid and assistance. Last week's fighting led to significant population displacement in eastern Liberia (near the border with Ivory Coast), central Liberia and in Monrovia's outskirts.
Thursday morning's attack on Zwedru (Grand Gedeh county) has left the entire eastern region bordering Ivory Coast out of reach of aid. Médecins Sans Frontières' (MSF) two expatriate volunteers working in the Zwedru transit camp did manage, with difficulty, to leave the combat zone but we have not had any news from the 28 members of the Liberian team. This attack follows the attack a few weeks ago on Toe Town, around 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Zwedru, which had already led to suspension of aid in the Grand Gedeh region.
In Nimba county, further north, an offensive on Ganta town launched Saturday morning, has forced several thousands to flee, especially towards Guinea-Conakry. On our part, we have been forced to reduce our presence in the Saclepea refugee camp. The protection of and assistance to these populations can no longer be guaranteed.
Nearly 75,000 refugees are living in the region bordering Ivory Coast. Today, they, like the local population, are cut off from necessary assistance and protection.
In central Liberia's Bong county, new offensives forced some 30,000 people to flee as fighting approached the outskirts of Monrovia, the capital city. Last Friday, in the wake of the fighting, MSF decided to reduce its teams in the field while continuing its activities in the Bong county displaced persons camp.
MSF is preparing to receive new arrivals there and in the Montserrado camps, where nearly 50,000 displaced persons are today caught between the front line and the capital. The surgical team working in Redemption Hospital has also continued its activities.
MSF is concerned about the fate of tens of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons in Liberia, as well as that of the populations affected by the renewed fighting. MSF calls for everything possible to be done to protect humanitarian aid workers, expatriate volunteers and members of national teams so that aid operations may resume as quickly as possible.