Mid-Year Review of the Consolidated Appeal for Liberia 2012
One year after the post-electoral crisis which entailed violent hostilities in many parts of Côte d'Ivoire from December 2010 to April 2011 and caused an influx of 200,000 refugees into Liberia, the situation in Côte d’Ivoire seems to be relatively stable. The situation in Liberia along the border continues to stabilize with the progressive improvement in the political and security situation in Côte d’Ivoire, despite recent incursions by fighters.
The original appeal was based on the planning figure of 120,000 Ivorian refugees in Liberia, 2,000 third-country nationals, and 140,000 affected people in communities hosting refugees. Through the ongoing biometric verification exercise started in January, the number of refugees was revised to 69,561 at the end of February. The humanitarian community thus revised the Consolidated Appeal in April 2012 to adjust requirements per sector to this lower caseload. Subsequently, the overall number of Ivorian refugees has further declined to 58,245 as released in May 2012 by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
In spite of the improvement of the situation, significant humanitarian and recovery assistance is still required to address the needs of the remaining caseload, and particularly those of host communities in the Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Maryland counties. Failure to provide this assistance will harm the lives and livelihoods of refugees and vulnerable host populations, hinder recovery and community rehabilitation efforts, and further exacerbate and destabilise the region along the border. Furthermore, the recent events illustrate that in some areas of the west and south of Liberia tensions remain high and armed attacks against or among civilians continue to be reported. On 8 June 2012, seven peacekeepers from Niger ofthe United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire were ambushed and killedduring an unprecedented attack in the south-western part of the country, along the very volatile border with Liberia. Ten civilians and a member of the Ivorian security force were also killed. There is a risk that these incidents may intensify and prompt another refugee crisis as triggered one year ago.
This mid-year review re-emphasizes the strategy and operational framework articulated in the original appeal to support the Government of Liberia in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations in four border counties impacted by the Ivorian refugee crisis. Despite the decrease in the number of Ivorian refugees and the expected continuation of voluntary returns, the overall number of vulnerable populations needing humanitarian aid remains high, requiring assistance for a total of US$97.9 million at mid-year. It is expected that a number of refugees will remain in Liberia during 2012, both in camps and host communities, as they remain uncertain and fearful regarding security, disarmament demobilization and reintegration, social cohesion and the rehabilitation of destroyed infrastructure in return areas of western Côte d’Ivoire. It is therefore essential for services to continue to these areas of concern during this delicate period as a way to manage the transition from emergency to development. A premature pull-out of services could further exacerbate an already tenuous situation and the resort to counter-productive coping strategies within communities.