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Liberia Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan 2011
Liberia has been hit by an influx of refugees owing to the political deadlock in neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire. Over half of those entering the country are women and some 62 percent are aged under 18 years. These are among the most vulnerable populations and both them and the communities into which they are being absorbed require urgent assistance.
Since the second round of presidential elections on 28 November 2010, Côte d’Ivoire has been in a state of turmoil, which has placed increasing numbers of people at risk. In the western part of the country, over 18 000 people have been displaced due to outbreaks of violence among different ethnic groups. By 13 January 2011, over 25 000 Ivoirians had already fled to neighbouring Liberia and a further 600 were arriving each day. This has placed enormous pressure on a country and communities that are already struggling to rebuild their lives following 14 years of conflict and humanitarian emergencies.
It is anticipated that up to 150 000 Ivoirians could flee their country, with a third of them likely to end up in Liberia. In addition, 25 000 Liberians living in Côte d’Ivoire and third country nationals could arrive in Liberia seeking safety. In response to the growing number of refugees in Liberia, the United Nations and its partners have launched the Liberia Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan (EHAP) 2011, seeking over USD 55 million to assist current and projected refugees and other affected people in Liberia.
Challenges facing food security and livelihoods
The arriving population is residing in 23 villages that already face food insecurity. The influx of refugees is affecting the fragile local economy, reflected in the rising price of rice (up by 50 percent) and declining wages. It is likely the flow of refugees will continue into the coming agricultural season, preventing Ivoirian farmers from cultivating in their own country and hampering production in Liberia.
As the cropping season nears, it is essential that inputs be mobilized by the end of January in order to ensure farmers can plant on time. This would ensure hosting and displaced families continue to meet their food needs and reduce their reliance on external assistance.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) co-leads the Food Security Working Group with the World Food Programme and has been providing support to farmers in Nimba county since 2003. Under theLiberia EHAP, the Food Security Working Group is seeking USD 10 791 924 in order to:
- save lives, provide and protect the livelihoods of refugees and vulnerable host communities through food aid and support to agricultural production and income generation; and
- improve coordination and food security information sharing mechanisms at the county and national levels.
With this overall objective, FAO is appealing for USD 2 931 500 to enable host communities and Ivoirian refugees to produce their own food in the upcoming season. The Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is playing a key role in providing support to refugees and host communities and has allocated arable land to address the food production needs of the displaced communities.