The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has completed the relocation of tens of thousands of refugees from an insecure area near Guinea's volatile border with Sierra Leone to better protected camps further inland, a spokesman for the agency announced today.
"A total of 54,000 have been transferred to safety since February," spokesman Kris Janowski told reporters in Geneva. Now that the relocation is complete, UNHCR has terminated its assistance in the insecure Parrot's Beak region, a stretch of Guinean territory extending into Sierra Leone that has been cut off from humanitarian aid since last September because of fighting.
According to Mr. Janowski, UNHCR's material assistance to refugees will now only be provided to new sites farther inland, where the Guinean Government can ensure physical safety of the refugees.
The spokesman noted that during the voluntary evacuation from the Parrot's Beak region, some refugees had opted to stay in the volatile zone. "The refugees who have decided to remain in the area expressed the wish to stay put until they are able to go back to Sierra Leone, rather than start afresh in new camps further inland," he said.