Helping Ivory Coast Refugees with Temporary Homes

Liberia shelters

With the help of villagers, CRS is building shelters for the Ivorian refugees and will also support host families. Photo by Lane Hartill/CRS

Since violence broke out after a disputed November 2010 presidential election in Ivory Coast, more than 100,000 Ivorian refugees have crossed into neighboring Liberia. More than 150,000 are expected to cross the border in the coming months as the violence continues.

Most of the refugees have arrived in the border towns of Nimba County, where there are few housing options. Refugees often find themselves in overcrowded homes of host families. Others sleep outdoors where they are harrassed by mosquitos, drenched by rain and in some cases lack cooking utensils, showers and privacy.

Along with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, CRS will help both the Ivorian refugees and their Liberian host families with the construction of 1,000 shelters in eight villages, providing housing for 5,000 people.

CRS also built a way station with temporary shelters in New Yourpea, Nimba County, to lodge refugees before they are transferred to selected villages or camps. Up to 100 refugee families at a time can get a 2- to 3-day stay in these shelters that include kitchens, latrines, showers, and a welcome center.

Food is a major need facing already burdened communities. With the support of USAID, CRS will soon help Liberian host communities and refugee families prepare land to grow rice. The program will provide short-term cash incentives to rehabilitate swamp land for the next planting season while providing cash to purchase food and other items. Tools and seeds provided by CRS’ signature Seed Vouchers and Fairs will allow families to prepare the soil for rice production, supported by training from CRS, to increase their food supply. The program is targeted at 15,000 people (refugees and hosts) in 15 communities.

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