Liberian National NGO Guest Expresses Concern Over IDPs Plight
... US$200,000 Awaits CCC

By J. Moses Gray


The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted October 1, 2003

A local humanitarian and relief group, the Concerned Christian Community (CCC) accompanied by a visiting international guest, recently paid a one-day visit to parts of Central Liberia to ascertain and assess the plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The Salala-Totota area presently shelters about 100,000 IDPs from other parts of Bong County and the two counties of Lofa and Nimba.

Remarking on the deplorable situation of the IDPs, CCC’s visiting international guest from the Netherlands-based, DORCAS AID International, Mr. Cees Osterhuis described it as "a human disaster."

"The sight of children walking long distances is very pathetic, especially when they have no food and even safe drinking water", Mr. Osterhuis lamented. He reiterated that the condition of the IDPs is completely a human catastrophe and added that it is very disturbing and shameful for Liberians to be made to live in their own home in such a desperate condition.

As its way of identifying with the IDPs and assist to improve their lot, the visiting CCC’s international guest disclosed that DORCAS AID International, which he serves as program manager, will channel all of its support through the CCC for proper and adequate distribution to the suffering people.

According to him, his organization will support CCC with circle social counseling and funds for shelter materials, relief food, as well as provide training in the area of skill management in micro credit. He said his organization has dispatched two 10-tons containers of food items and non food items.

He revealed that DORCAS AID International has already approved a relief package totaling US$100,000 for the CCC. He also vowed to impress on the donors to again approve a similar amount for the work of the CCC to bring the total amount to US$200,000.

Meanwhile, Mr. Osterhuis has departed the country for The Netherlands.

In a related development, the United Nations Special Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Ross Mountain has revealed that over 100,000 persons have been displaced in the Salala area, blaming that on the prevailing situation in that troubled area.

What appears as a human disaster has been uncovered in Central Liberia, resulting from the pressing humanitarian crisis and the prevailing military situation obtaining in war-torn Liberia.

In the Salala-Totota region where the catastrophe is obtaining, more than 100,000 persons have been displaced, while lack of food, medications and plastic sheeting are major among few of the extreme conditions facing the suffering internally displaced persons (IDPs).

In spite of the unfavorable military situation obtaining in the area, The INQUIRER managed to visit the troubled Totota-Salala region last Thursday and while in the area it took noted of the terrible conditions the IDPs are undergoing.

Almost all the displaced who spoke with The INQUIRER on tape accused government militants of harassment, intimidations, looting and flogging, saying that government militant men are also residing in the various IDPs camps.

Speaking in a separate interview with this paper, Mr. Forkpor Wandall accused government fighters of constantly harassing them. According to him, the deployment of ECOMIL in the Totota area will assist with the improved security situation there, noting that they have gone out of food and medication.

For elder Sahr Tamba, the lack of food, medicines and other essential human need on the camps are increasing their sufferings. He also lamented the lack of plastic sheets and care for the pregnant women, children and baby mothers.

The assigned monitor of the Liberia Refugees, Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) at the Totota IDPs camp, Mr. Isaac Manson, told The INQUIRER that it was fear that caused the displaced to flee the camp.

According to him, it was government militants who spread misleading information at the camp that "LURD forces were planning to attack the area", therefore, the displaced should leave. He said their way, the government fighters took away all their belongings and massively looted the various camps.

Mr. Manson said some of the displaced fled to Salala while other fled into the bushes and the various towns and villages alone the Totota-Kakata highway.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.