Ivory Coast crisis: refugees’ stories

Emergencies article written on the 11 Apr 2011

Photo: Steve Cockburn/Oxfam

Thousands of refugees continue to flee from Ivory Coast to eastern Liberia, as violence and looting escalate in the west of the country.

Most are staying with Liberian host families or in emergency camps and transit centres near the border, but the conditions they face are alarming. On top of their personal losses, refugees must contend with inadequate shelter, as well as limited access to clean water and basic sanitation.

Oxfam has deployed humanitarian experts and is starting water and sanitation work. We’ve already airlifted some 50 tons of relief supplies into Liberia, including water tanks and drilling equipment, together with essential supplies such as latrines.

We visited some of the camps along the border, and spoke to some of the refugees to get an idea of what they were going through. They’re naturally grateful for humanitarian aid, but explained that they’re finding it difficult to cope with poor and insufficient food, unclean latrines, a lack of medicines, no school and cramped, leaky tents.

Five refugees share their stories in the photo gallery below.
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Read about what we’ve done so far in response to the Ivory Coast crisis