More vulnerable cases among those fleeing Liberia for Sierra Leone, UN agency says

More vulnerable cases among those fleeing Liberia for Sierra Leone, UN agency says

Liberian refugees in Sierra Leone
Aid workers are reporting an increase in vulnerable cases among the more than 8,500 people who have fled Liberia for Sierra Leone over the past two weeks, the United Nations refugee agency said today.

Aid workers are reporting an increase in vulnerable cases among the more than 8,500 people who have fled Liberia for Sierra Leone over the past two weeks, the United Nations refugee agency said today.

The elderly, ill and handicapped people, as well as pregnant women, newborn babies and unaccompanied children account for about one tenth of those arriving in Sierra Leone after a rebel attack of the Sinje refugee camp on 20 June, a spokesman for the UN agency said in Geneva.

Most of those who have crossed into Sierra Leone over the past 12 days have been Liberian refugees but there have also been Sierra Leoneans among them who had lived in exile in Liberia but now decided to go back because of the fighting, spokesman Kris Janowski told reporters at a press briefing.

"Over the past few days, the daily number of those arriving in Sierra Leone has fallen to between 500 and 700 per day, down from a daily average of 1,300 last week," he said.

Since the attack, about 40 to 50 emergency cases have been transported by ambulance to the Kenema Hospital, including several child malnutrition cases, gynaecological emergencies, anaemia and serious infections, Mr. Janowski said. The clinic at the border treats between 90 and 130 individuals a day, half of them ill with malaria. There are also cases of diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, scabies and sexually transmitted diseases.