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UN seeks over $10 million to aid refugees fleeing recent clashes in Liberia

UN seeks over $10 million to aid refugees fleeing recent clashes in Liberia

Responding to an outflow of refugees from Liberia prompted by recent clashes in the country, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today asked donors for $10.4 million to fund its emergency relief operations in the area.

The bid for funds "comes amid increasing concern over the condition of tens of thousands of displaced Liberians and Sierra Leonean refugees caught up in the conflict," said UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond. "It also follows the arrival of more than 76,000 fresh Liberian refugees in neighbouring countries since the beginning of this year - an exodus that is continuing."

The agency hopes to use the funding to help up to 100,000 Liberian refugees in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire. The emergency appeal will cover a variety of needs, including rehabilitation and construction of camps, domestic needs, transport and logistics, water, sanitation, health and nutrition, and protection monitoring.

"A quick response to this new $10.4 million appeal is absolutely crucial if we're to help the new Liberian refugees," said Mr. Redmond. "The needs are enormous in a region already struggling to cope."

In addition to seeking financial resources, High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers has issued an urgent plea for humanitarian access to, and safe passage for, tens of thousands of refugees and Liberian civilians displaced by the renewed fighting in Liberia. The agency is calling particular attention to the plight of thousands of refugees who fled Sinje camp on 20 June following an attack by rebels of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).