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Aid to Ivory Coast refugees stepped up

2011-01-05 13:09

Geneva - Aid deliveries to 22 000 refugees from Ivory Coast who fled the post-election crisis are being stepped up in neighbouring Liberia, the UN refugee agency said on Wednesday.

The refugees include supporters of both presidential rivals, Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbago, who fled from villages between Danane and Guiglo in the west of Ivory Coast, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

"They say they fled at night and walked through the bushes to avoid detection by forces of opposing political views, who are in control of the territories they come from," it added in a statement.

"UNHCR is stepping up its aid delivery to the now 22 000 Ivorian refugees who fled to Liberia in the wake of post-electoral tensions in their country."

Seven trucks were being mobilised to carry supplies to 23 villages in eastern Liberia's Nimba county where refugees are continuing to arrive.

The UN's World Food Programme is unlocking food supplies for 21 000 people, while Ivorian refugees were helping their host communities with harvests in return for a portion of the crops in.

Most of those who have fled violence and the tense political standoff in the West African country are women and children.

Another 222 Ivorians have fled to Guinea while 19 have sought refuge in Ghana, according to the UNHCR.

The agency has prepared supplies in the region to help up to 30 00 Ivorian refugees.