Liberia's Port City Over crowded... Receives Influx of Several IDPs

By: Folo-Glagba Korkollie in Bassa

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 1, 2003

The densely populated capital of Grand Bassa County, Buchanan is having its social and medical facilities including clinics stretched to their limits with the influx of several thousands of persons who have fled their home regions due to the ongoing fighting between Government forces and rebel groups in the country. However, due to the lack of food, medicine, shelter and other essentials, the condition of the internally displaced persons(IDPs), who are presently sprawling all over the city and its environs has become so desperate to the point that some are at the verge of death.

Most of the IDPs who are suffering from a high degree of hunger, malnutrition and misery, have come from Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Sinoe counties and other parts of the country.

Presently, the only displaced camp, Luiza Hotel in Lower Harlandsville Township, District #3'A’ is so overcrowded that private homes of relatives and friends of some of the IDPs have apparently become pseudo displaced centers. While others are reportedly sleeping in the street corners and market stalls in Buchanan and its surroundings, thus posing health hazard and severe hardship on them.

Many of the IDPs have lost family contacts as some parents cannot find their children and children have lost their parents.

When contacted over the weekend at the Luiza Hotel IDPs Camp, the local head monitor of the Liberian Refugee, Repatriation & Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), Mr. Nathaniel J. Peters confirmed the severe hardship on the influx of the IDPs in the county.

Mr. Peters then appealed to government, NGOs, and other humanitarian organizations and individuals to come to the aid of the suffering IDPs with food, medicine, additional shelters, as Luiza Hotel IDPs camp is congested, and also to erect a transit point to identify and register IDPs among other essentials for their survival.

Concerned about the pathetic condition of the IDPs, the county authorities headed by Superintendent Ellen J. Natt, visited the various IDPs sites to assess their plights

The Oriental Timber Corporation (OTC) operating in Buchanan, has and continues to provide food items and medication for some of the IDPs, and according to OTC Hospital Chief Medical Director, Dr. Sam T. Dopoe, over 100 IDPs have been treated relative to road accident, delivery and others, free of charge.

On April 8, 2003, the Chairman of the Grand Bassa County Branch of the Liberia Unification Party (LUP), Mr. Jeh Byron Browne and family personally donated four (4) bags of rice, several sacks of table salt and a quantity of washing soap as their way of identifying with the plight of the IDPs.

The Medical Emergency Relief International (MERLIN) is also providing treatment for malaria, acute respiratory infection and skin rashes among other sickness for about 150 IDP patients on a daily basis; and has installed a safe drinking water system at Luiza Hotel IDPs Camp.

The Catholic Relief Services (CRS), CARITAS, LRRRC, the Liberian National Red Cross Society, and others continue to distribute bulgur wheat, vegetable oil and pinto beans as emergency food for the IDPs at Luiza Hotel Shelter.

According to the Buchanan CRS Head of program, Mr. Peter Briggs, over 2000 IDPs have already been served while several others are enroute.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Luiza Hotel IDPs Camp, Mr. James Zuannah has commended all those who have continued to render humanitarian gestures to the IDPs, and is calling on others to emulate the good example of the foresaid contributors for the survival of the suffering IDPs.

Last week a 3-unit shelter was constructed at Beesaymah in Benson Kiler Community, Lower Harlandsville Township in District #3'A’ outside Buchanan, but there is still a dire need for additional shelters and other help.

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