Revision Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan for Liberia (March 2011)
The ongoing post-electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire continues to have huge humanitarian implications on the lives and livelihoods of people in the country and the region as whole, Liberia in particular. The violent incidents that followed the second round of the presidential elections of 28 November 2010 in Côte d’Ivoire increased fear of an internal conflict. This generated an initial displacement of population – both internally and in neighbouring countries, mainly Liberia.
The humanitarian community immediately intervened to support the Liberian Government in addressing the needs of thousands of Ivorian families seeking refuge along the Liberian border. While life-saving assistance was being scaled up to meet the primary needs of the refugees, the political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire further deteriorated. Subsequent violence and armed clashes forced thousands of Ivorians to flee into Liberia. To date, over 93,000 Ivorian refugees have already been registered in Liberia, with more than half of them crossing since 24 February.
The majority of these refugees are currently in Nimba County. During the last week of February, sporadic arrivals started to be reported in Liberia’s southern counties of Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Maryland. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Liberia Refugee, Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) monitoring teams make daily visits to the host communities to register people arriving from Côte d'Ivoire at first sight. UNHCR and Governmental authorities have reported that the increasing presence of new arrivals is stretching the absorption capacity of the host communities whose resources are already limited.
Given the ongoing political deadlock in Côte d’Ivoire, it is expected that these population movements will further increase and generate a large-scale humanitarian crisis. While enhancing the current emergency response, the humanitarian community is now projecting that an additional 100,000 refugees will enter Liberia and will require humanitarian aid in the coming months. In addition, it is likely that Liberian nationals in Côte d’Ivoire will return to their country, and third country nationals will also leave Côte d’Ivoire for safety reasons. This group of “returnees/third country nationals” is estimated at 25,000 people. Therefore, this revised Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan (EHAP) appeals for resources for a projected total of 150,000 refugees, three times the initially expected refugee numbers under the original EHAP issued inJanuary 2011, plus an additional 25,000 returnees and third-country nationals pouring into the country. (There is a separate regional EHAP for Côte d’Ivoire and four other neighbouring countries to address the needs of refugees, IDPs, returnees and third country nationals in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ghana and Mali.)
UNHCR and the Liberian Government together with other humanitarian actors are working to provide humanitarian aid to these refugees in Liberia. Clean water, shelter, food, health, protection, sanitation, education and security all remain the most urgent needs for refugees and local communities alike as they have very little to survive on. The Government of Liberia has agreed to recognize all Côte d’Ivoire nationals fleeing their country in the aftermath of the election’s crisis as refugees on a prima facie basis.
The response plans developed for the EHAP for Liberia are in line with the four strategic objectives of the 2011 Regional
- reduce excess mortality and morbidity in crisis situations;
- reinforce livelihoods of the most vulnerable people severely affected by slow or sudden onset crisis;
- ensure humanitarian access and improve protection of vulnerable people;
- strengthen coordination and preparedness of emergencies at national and regional levels.
The financial requirements for the revised EHAP for Liberia amount to US$146,511,863, to cover the most urgent humanitarian needs for 150,000 individuals for six months (up to the end of June 2011). $35 million in funding has been received or committed to date, leaving $111 million still required.
“Emergency humanitarian action plan” is a term that has been used in West Africa to denote what are essentially flash appeals for sudden-onset or steeply worsening crises, but which are counted as supplements to the regional West Africa Consolidated Appeal rather than parallel appeals.