Refugees settle in Karnplay
Over a thousand refugees have settled in the community of Karnplay, one of sixteen communities within the Nimba County of Liberia on the border to Côte d’Ivoire that is providing shelter for refugees. With the help of the UNHCR, 130 shelters have been set up in Karnplay alone.
SOS Children’s Villages sends two relief convoys
In close coordination with the UNHCR to ensure help is given to those who need it most, SOS Children has sent two convoys with relief supplies to be distributed in several communities and camps. The second convoy, escorted by four SOS members of staff, arrived on 26 May.
Children especially vulnerable to disease
In spite of the efforts of several relief organisations, the need for basic food, sanitation and medical supplies is still great, as more and more people arrive at the camps and communities every day. The children are especially vulnerable to diseases that spread easily in these conditions, such as malnutrition and diarrhoea. It is apparent that the number of refugees is increasing throughout camps in the four Liberian counties that share a border with Côte d’Ivoire.
Mothers at the Karnplay Refugee Center cry for assistance
The recent upsurge of violence between the fighters of Ouattara and Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast springing from electoral disputes did not only inflict wounds and lead to the death of many peaceful Ivorian's during the tense exchange of gunfire but, also after the cessation of gun firing, inflicted severe emotional distress on many infants whose fathers became missing or died during that recent civil crises and are presently being cared for by their helpless and frustrated mothers.
Here's an insight on the plights of many single mothers who presently care for many fatherless children at the Karnplay Refugees Center in Nimba County:
40-year-old Betty struggles with four children alone
"I have no husband here in this County. I am a refugee. I have four children but their father died in this recent war in Ivory Coast. I came here at the refugee center with my four children to find out if I can get any assistance for my children", explains Betty through a local interpreter as she adjusted her young baby on her back. "But imagine how it is difficult for me to care for these children as a woman in this unknown country", she continues. "I need assistance. I arrive here this same month. I have no food or a good sleeping place to start a new life". Betty and her children's appearances indeed attest to the hard fact that they have not eaten for some days.
Alice laments over her young baby
"I just arrived here at this camp in April 2011.I am 20 years of age", explain Alice, a young mother. "This is my first child. I was in school but I conceived this child just before the war in the Ivory Coast. My parents died during the war and the boy for whom I have this child could not be seen during the war. His parents could not locate him. So I came alone with this baby in Liberia," explains Alice in tears. "I need assistance like food and a mattress mainly for my baby to live", concludes Alice.
59-year-old Annie seeks assistance for her three grand children
Though she is old and helpless, she had to be swift with her plans to escape with her three grand children whose parents were victims of assignation by some unknown men during a fateful night. "We heard them crying as they killed them. So I ran in the children's room and then then I escaped with these three children in the forest. We slept there that night", narrates Annie. "The next day, we joined a group of people who knew how to get to the UN truck that brought us here at this refugee center in Liberia. But there is no food and I have no means to find food for them because I am old. And these children actually need food. I need clothes for them though, but not as urgently as I need food for them", continues the grandmother.
30-year-old Oretha with disability struggles alone with her baby
"As you can see, I can't walk well. I have problem with my legs. I can't walk long distances. I was just lucky for the UNHCR to bring me here and didn't die during the conflict in Ivory Coast", explains Oretha. Oretha who has a two-year-old baby says that she could not locate the father since the war started but she has to be brought by relatives at the camp to save her life amidst the heavy fighting at that time. "My husband is not here with me and I am not even sure that he is alive because anyone whom I ask tells me that they are unaware about his presence. Being in this situation, I have to come here, do the registration and find means to get food from this refugee center", says Oretha. "Although I have this disability, I could run a business if I received (financial) support. I am just tired of coming over here every day hoping to get food", she points out.
Two little boys seek their parents
They run around the camp the whole day and are being fed by a family in the community but according to sources at the camp, the location of the parents of the two siblings is not known. One is six years and one is eight. The family in the community took them in after seeing them alone in the camp. "The children came with their mother but we cannot locate her at the camp anymore. Whether she has gone somewhere to return we don't know... But we are trying to help them but we need extra support for them since we ourselves have our own family to fend for", explain Kona, the woman." But the little one just sits sometimes and cries for his mother and this is very heartbreaking. But my family is trying to help them and we are trying to contact the UNHCR about these children", concludes Kona.
At present there are two SOS Children's Villages in Liberia, one SOS Youth Home, two SOS Nuseries, one SOS Medical Centre and two SOS Schools.