Ebola-related hiatus concludes for Ivorian refugee repatriation efforts

A refugee of Côte d'Ivoire prepares her luggage for repatriation. | Courtesy of the UNHCR
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced this week that the repatriation of Ivorian refugees in Liberia has been restarted.

Repatriation activity was halted as a result of the Ebola outbreak that engulfed the country. Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the UNHCR, said that there are approximately 38,000 refugees in Liberian camps. Of these, approximately 11,000 are ready to return.

At the time of the UNHCR statement, two convoys were launched out of Liberia toward Côte d'Ivoire. Two additional convoys will be exiting Liberia before the end of 2015. The announcement anticipates that approximately 1,000 people will return to their home country by the beginning of 2016.

People fled Côte d'Ivoire following increased violence that occurred after the presidential election of 2010. Approximately 300,000 people fled during this time, with the majority residing in Liberia. The violence reportedly ceased in April 2011, and repatriation of refugees began in late 2012.

Edwards said that there have been no reported cases of the Ebola virus among refugees in Liberian camps and that these facilities incorporated preventative measures in order to avoid infection. The outbreak in Liberia began in March of 2014.

Organizations in this story

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Rue de Montbrillant Genève, GE

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