No food ration, good medication and better education for children
The status of the Ivorian refugees in the Bahn Refugee Camp in Nimba County is said to be in limbo, since the United Nations High Commission for Refugees cutoff all activities in 2016.
The refugees who appear very pale and distraught told the Daily Observer in the Bahn Refugees on Thursday, April 19, 2018 that their abandonment by the UNHCR and other line agencies has made their lives vulnerable and in the state of confusion, something they said have led their female children into prostitution for survival.
“We have not been getting food and other supplies, since the withdrawal of the UNHCR and other agencies working in this camp in 2016,” they said.
“We have been reduced to eating palm kernel and doing things out of our will for survival,” said Tuadogo Delphine, a mother of five children, who lost her husband in the Ivorian Civil War.
The refugees, who number over 1000 complained of not getting the required medical attention as compared to the days when the refugees clinic in camp was still functioning.
“Our medication was turned over to the government, but whenever we go to the clinic, we will be given white paper so we can go and buy the medicines from outside,” said Tai Sylvestre Bore, one block chairperson.
Due to poor medical attention, a lady in the camp complained of losing her son to cancer he got from bullet wounds from the war in Ivory Coast.
She said the boy’s foot was first amputated at his ankle with the help of UNHCR, but the cancer resurfaced, because of the departure of UNHCR they have no more means for advance medication, until he met demise.
“The status of our children school is in limbo, no funding for higher education and those in primary session face a bleak future, because the Ivorian teachers have been sidelined and are no longer teaching the kids the Ivorian curriculum,” said Gorn Theadile, a refugee.
The entire offices of the line agencies and that of UNHCR in the camp and even in Saclepea have been closed, making it very difficult to reach them.
The plastic sheet used for roofing sheet for most of the houses in the camp arein deplorable condition, something that poses a threat to women and children.
A blind refugee lady was seen dwelling in a dilapidated house, with one side of the house broken.
The refugees explained that the UNHCR is not coming to tell them their status, whether to be repatriated, resettled elsewhere and being reintegrated into the Liberian society.
“Some of us are afraid to returned home, because most of those we fled from are backed in the Ivorian Government, so we need resettlement elsewhere around the world,” acclaimed one angry refugee.
“We are suffering, they cannot bring us and abandoned us like this,” shouted a young lady.
“Some of the refugees are political refugees and cannot go back to home, so we are appealing to the UNHCR to come and declare our status and are also asking any well meaning organization to help us resettle elsewhere,” said Keupeu Geofray, general secretary of the camp.
Arthur Gayepue, the Administrator of Bahn Health Center, where the refugees got their clinical treatment agreed for giving the patients list of drugs to buy, but not refugees alone, because, according to him there is a serious shortage of medical drugs in Nimba and the country at large.
He said for several months, his entity has not received any drugs from the central government, something he said was affecting nearly all health facilities.
When contacted the Liberia Refugees, Repatriation, Resettlement Committee/LRRRC regional office in Saclapea the administrator said he was not clothed with authority to speak and referred this reporter to the regional officer.
Effort to get the view of the regional officer via mobile phone remained futile, as his phone was perpetually switched off.
The LRRRC is the only agency that has office in the camp presently, according to the refugees.
However, the City Mayor of Bahn Madam Angie Dopoe said the refugees are becoming burden to the citizens, because they are roaming everywhere in the villages in search of food.
“We are confused, because UNHCR is not coming show us the refugees that will be integrated in the society, they just left and the people are suffering,” she said.
In the same development, the refugees in the PPP Camp in Grand Gedeh County and also Maryland are said to be facing similar situations.