Britain to provide emergency aid to Liberia and the Ivory Coast

28 Mar 2011 12:25 PM

The British Government recently announced an urgent emergency aid package to help tens of thousands of people affected by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Liberia and the Ivory Coast.

The UN estimates that more than 660,000 people have fled their homes to escape the violence caused by the ongoing political crisis and are in desperate need of food, clean water, shelter and urgent medical care.

There are also concerns that the violence could spread and destabilise West Africa, creating an even worse humanitarian catastrophe.

In Liberia, where an estimated 90,000 refugees have crossed the border, Britain’s support will help:

  • Provide 15,000 refugees with food, shelter and basic services in camps and transit centres.
  • Assist a further 5,000 people living in border villages who have been overwhelmed by the refugee influx with food, water and sanitation.
  • Protect 18,000 children and women from abuse, violence and exploitation.

In the Ivory Coast, Britain is planning to provide humanitarian aid to help:

  • Provide 25,000 displaced men, women and children with food for six months.
  • Provide tents for 15,000 people.
  • Treat 10,000 children and adults for malnutrition.
  • 3,000 West African nationals return to their home country. 

Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell said:

"I've spoken to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and told her that Britain will provide humanitarian support to help tackle the mounting crisis which is spreading across her border.

“Britain has not forgotten the people of Liberia or the Ivory Coast and the horrendous conditions many are living in.

“The continuing violence caused by the political situation in the Ivory Coast has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes in fear for their safety. They have been left without food, water and medical care and we will not stand by and ignore their suffering.

“The rest of the world must also play their part and join Britain in giving urgent assistance to the thousands of children, women and men in desperate need.”

British emergency assistance to the people of the Liberia and Ivory Coast will be directed through trusted UN and NGO partners in response to needs on the ground in this ever changing environment.

Britain has an ongoing development programme in Liberia and recently announced it will help train an additional 3,700 health workers to provide essential health care for women and children, while helping to reduce the child mortality rate by 10%, saving about 2,000 lives a year. Britain does not have a development programme in the Ivory Coast but is providing humanitarian support in response to the crisis.

Notes to Editors

  • Continual fighting and violence in the Ivory Coast has made access to those caught up in the conflict extremely difficult. The UK Government is working in partnership with UN and trusted non-Governmental organisations to respond as the needs present themselves and may change in accordance to the environment.
  • Since the disputed presidential elections, around 500,000 have been displaced in and around the commercial capital of Abidjan, 70,000 in Western Ivory Coast and a further 90,000 refugees have crossed the border into Liberia.
  • The British Government will provide £8 million to humanitarian agencies to provide emergency aid in Liberia and a further £8 million in the Ivory Coast.
  • The British Government has previously supported the World Food Programme’s efforts to feed tens of thousands of refugees and border villagers in Liberia.
  • For more information contact the DFID press office on 020 7023 0600.