Revised Liberia Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan 2011
The political deadlock in the aftermath of Côte d’Ivoire’s Presidential elections in 2010 has remained entrenched, with upswings of violence causing mass displacements and threatening the lives of millions of people. An escalation in the violence since the end of February has forced tens of thousands of Ivoirians across the border, increasing the number of registered Ivoirian refugees to over 100 000 people.
This has far exceeded the initial estimates of the humanitarian community in Liberia, as outlined in the Liberia Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan (EHAP). The EHAP was launched in January 2011 to support an estimated 50 000 refugees. Since then, the United Nations and its partners have revised the Plan to meet the needs of 150 000 refugees. The United Nations and its partners launched the Revised Liberia EHAP on 24 March, seeking almost USD 112 million.
To-date, the response to the initial appeal has been extremely low. In post-conflict Liberia, urgent support is required to ensure that the refugee influx does not negatively impact on the significant progress that has been made in the country in recent years. Through the Revised EHAP, the humanitarian community is emphasizing the need to strengthen the resilience of both Liberian host communities and the incoming refugees.
Challenges facing food security and livelihoods
The refugees are currently residing in 76 local communities along the border with Côte d’Ivoire. Many fled their homes before the critical rice harvest and rely entirely on their hosts for food. The hosts themselves are facing an increasingly worrying situation as their cassava stocks are nearly depleted, to the extent that some have already started to consume their seed stocks. Without urgent assistance, these households face an increasing risk of hunger, malnutrition and continued dependence on food aid.
As displaced people have poured across the border, the prices of staple foods have begun to rise. A joint rapid food security assessment conducted by the Liberian Ministry of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in February suggested that local rice prices have increased by as much as 50 percent. At the same time, many of the refugee households appear to be paying for their keep through casual agricultural labour. This has reduced the employment opportunities open to the most vulnerable local families, straining their self-sufficiency and food security.
FAO co-leads the Food Security Sector in Liberia with the World Food Programme. In response to the refugee crisis, the Sector is seeking over USD 37 million to begin meeting the food and food production needs of refugees and the host population. The Sector strategy is to implement a phased approach based on ensuring immediate availability of food through food distribution, supported by food production assistance to gradually reduce dependence on food aid, while enabling beneficiaries to generate income through the sale of surplus produce.
Within the Sector, FAO is appealing for USD 5 863 000 to urgently initiate livelihood strengthening programmes through agricultural input distribution. To-date, FAO has received just USD 498 930 through the Central Emergency Response Fund.