Thousands of refugees have fled from Ivory Coast to neighboring countries, including Liberia, following the political crisis after disputed elections in November 2010.
Though Oxfam closed down our emergency operations in Ivory Coast at the end of November 2011, we continue to provide humanitarian aid to Ivorians and host communities in Liberia, both in Grand Gedeh and Maryland counties where most refugees are.
Oxfam aid in both countries has included clean water, food, cash transfers, sanitation, hygiene and assistance to help them to rebuild their livelihoods. By the end of November, we had reached over 65,000 displaced people in Ivory Coast, and 70,000 Ivorian refugees in eastern Liberia.
Map of Oxfam's response
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The crisis in the region began toward the end of 2010, following the contested presidential election in Cote d’Ivoire, which caused months of instability, abuse and violent clashes in the country, leaving hundreds dead and thousands displaced from their homes.
As of the end of July 2011, more than 400,000 Ivorians remained displaced from their home, either within Ivory Coast or in neighboring countries, mainly in Liberia where about 171,000 refugees stays with hosting communities and in camps.
In Liberia, there are still significant humanitarian needs amongst those who remain displaced from their homes, those who have recently returned, as well as amongst hosting communities, as the majority of refugees and displaced people are staying with host families near the Ivorian border.
Oxfam's reponse to the Ivory Coast/Liberia crisis
In response to the crisis in Ivory Coast, Oxfam first deployed humanitarian experts and started water and sanitation work in refugee camps and transit sites in eastern Liberia, and started operating in West Ivory Coast at the worst of the political crisis in April.
In Liberia, we continue to support refugees in Maryland and Grand Gedeh refugee camps and in communities hosting refugees, maintaining and improving water supply systems, latrines, and bathing facilities, distributing hygiene kits and promoting hygiene. We have also helped families hosting refugees to restock their diminished food supplies, by providing them with seeds and agricultural support and through cash grant distributions. As of November 2011, Oxfam had reached more than 70,000 refugees, both in camps and host communities.
In Ivory Coast, Oxfam has provided assistance to more than 60,000 people, displaced and returnees. We ran health and sanitation activities, including disinfection of wells, sites cleaning, rehabilitation of sanitation infrastructures, distribution of hygiene kits, and we campaigned to improve awareness of hygiene and the risks of malaria and cholera. We organized cash transfers and vouchers distributions to the most vulnerable households, and provided hosting families with seeds and agriculture assistance. Oxfam also helped displaced people and refugees to find durable solutions when they returned and provided them with opportunities, including support to women's activities.
Oxfam has been working in Liberia for more than a decade. Please consider helping fund our emergency work around the world by donating to the Emergency Fund of your nearest national Oxfam affiliate.
Updated 19 December 2011.