IRC Provides Emergency Aid for Newly Displaced in Guinea
Sporadic rebel attacks since September in the areas of Macenta, Gueckedou and Forecariah triggered mass population movements north towards Conakry and Kissidougou, and trapped tens of thousands of refugees south west of Gueckedou. Prior to September, this region was relatively stable and was home to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The conflict has resulted in the frequent suspension of international aid programs and access to Gueckedou and Macenta remain tenuous.
Tens of thousands of refugees are now clustering between Gueckedou and Kissidougou in southeastern Guinea. The UN High Commission for Refugees is establishing four new refugee camps at Dabola in central Guinea, and the IRC will be assisting with their construction. This will include the building of schools, wells and sanitation facilities.
Finally, the IRC is preparing to launch emergency education programs, with the hope of re-establishing its formal schools for refugees in Guinea. Prior to the conflict, the IRC was running 135 schools for more than 70,000 students. The IRC is also looking into restarting its comprehensive community health programs.
Since September, IRC's regional coordinator for West Africa, Timothy Bishop has met regularly with U.S. government officials and representatives from other aid organizations to press for increased protection for Guinea's refugee and displaced populations and international efforts to promote stability. "The conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia have spread into Guinea and this is now a regional crisis," said Bishop. "The situation requires an internationally negotiated political solution and until that happens, humanitarian aid is but a band aid on a festering wound."
The Guinean government estimates that over one thousand people have been killed since September.