WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA Liberia
A refugee child attends class in remote Nimba County, host to most of the 176,000 refugees that fled conflict in neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire. This is severely straining local resources in a country that is itself recovering from years of civil war.
Update: CAP Mid-Year Review
Children and Women in Crisis
In 2011, Liberian communities bordering Côte d’Ivoire hosted an influx of refugees fleeing the post-Ivorian election violence. Children and women represent 80 per cent of the more than 176,000 refugees who now reside in camps and host communities, where an estimated 241,000 Liberians have welcomed them during the past year.1 While attempts have been made to ensure that refugees move towards the camps and designated host communities for security and access to services, a majority of the refugees still remain dispersed along the border. The critical need of refugee locations for essential services has been hampered by the lack of adequate funding through the 2011 Liberia Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan. As a result, children and women are at risk of undernutrition, diarrhoeal and infectious diseases, HIV and AIDS, lack of social protection and disruption of education.
While the refugee population is expected to stabilize in 2012, a well-informed, intentional response will be necessary in order to adequately support refugees as well as vulnerable Liberian host communities affected by the crisis.
Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012
UNICEF leads the WASH and nutrition sectors and the child protection sub-sector. In addition, UNICEF is co-lead of the education sector with Save the Children and supports the health and HIV and AIDS coordination and response mechanisms. In 2012, UNICEF will continue to scale up its response not only to the needs of the refugee children and women, but also those in the host communities.
- UNICEF will treat an expected caseload of 4,000 children under 5 with severe acute malnutrition and provide more than 4,000 moderately malnourished children under 5 with high-energy and micronutrient foods, as well as promote optimal infant and young child feeding practices for 32,000 children.
- UNICEF will continue to support the host and refugee populations through county health teams and NGOs by providing technical health assistance and supplies, ambulances and social mobilization, benefiting approximately 191,000 children and women.
- UNICEF will provide at least 85,000 refugees and 100,000 Liberians with safe, clean and accessible water and sanitation, and will also actively promote healthy hygiene behaviours within targeted host communities and schools.
- Child protection efforts will ensure that children separated from their families are cared for while family tracing takes place by giving nearly 32,000 Ivorian refugee and Liberian host community at-risk children access to psychosocial activities and areas that promote attachment, stability and resilience.
- UNICEF will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Education and partners to ensure the provision of relevant and quality pre-primary and primary education for 80,000 Ivorian and Liberian children. The programme will also focus on the delivery of life skills, vocational skills and HIV and AIDS-related education for up to 20,000 Ivorian and Liberian adolescents.
- The HIV and AIDS programme will provide 80,000 children, young people and women with information, and more than 4,000 HIV-positive women and children will have access to treatment and care.
Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011
UNICEF Liberia had received US$12,499,236, or 42 per cent, of the requested US$29,998,993 for its programmes in Liberia as of end October 2011. While this funding enabled UNICEF to provide essential services to more than 100,000 people in some 100 communities and 6 refugee camps, gaps still remain in the delivery of services.
Sectoral coordination structures for WASH, nutrition, education and child protection were established in 4 counties with support from more than 13 donors.
The WASH programme expanded its coverage of essential water and sanitation services in all locations, focusing on the delivery of safe drinking water, soap and water containers, as well as the construction of latrines in affected communities, benefiting more than 102,000 people of the 185,000 targeted.
More than 44,000 children were screened for undernutrition, of which 2,500 were treated for severe malnutrition and 3,400 for moderate malnutrition.
Family based care and tracing services were provided to more than 1,400 children found to be unaccompanied or separated from their parents or guardians.
UNICEF was able to reach slightly more than 10,000 children of the targeted 20,000 in the provision of child-friendly places. More than 40,000 Ivorian and Liberian children (out of the 96,000 targeted) benefited from continued education in crisis-affected areas.
Funding Requirements for 2012
UNICEF requests US$25,929,000 for an ongoing, multifaceted response to vulnerable communities, including those affected by the refugee crisis. UNICEF requires adequate funding for its focused interventions to the vulnerable women and children living in these locations.
More information on humanitarian action planned for 2012 can be found at www.unicef.org/hac2012.
1 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Web portal, http://info.unhcr.org/lr.locsis, accessed 19 October 2011, and ‘UNHCR Field Situation Report’, Zwedru, Liberia, 14–21 August, 2011, p. 2.