UN expects jump in Ivorian refugee flow to Ghana

29th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The UN refugee agency said Tuesday that it expects a significant number of Ivorians to flee to Ghana if the situation in Ivory Coast's economic capital Abidjan were to worsen.

"We are bracing for significant arrivals in Ghana should the situation in Abidjan get worse," said Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Some 3,129 refugees have arrived in Ghana so far, with many of them coming from Abidjan and its suburbs, where heavy fighting raged over the past week.

The UNHCR said on Friday that up to one million people may have been displaced from Abidjan alone.

But with fighting now moving west, even more displacements are also being seen in the region.

"These clashes have probably resulted in something like, in the west, 100,000 people being displaced in that part of the country," said Fleming.

"It was just a couple of weeks ago that we did a registration and we registered 40,000, so those numbers have significantly jumped," added the spokeswoman.

The UNHCR is also preparing for more arrivals in Liberia, which has registered 112,000 refugees since late November, when violence first broke out in Ivory Coast over the dispute presidential elections.

About 300 to 400 people are still crossing daily into Grand Gedeh County, said Fleming.

The significant hike in refugees fleeing to Liberia has prompted the United Nations to almost triple its aid appeal for the country from $55 million to $146.5 million.

Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman from the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs, said that a separate appeal for Ivory Coast and four other neighbouring countries -- Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ghana and Mali -- will also be revised in the coming days.

© 2011 AFP

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