UN launches 121 million consolidated humanitarian appeal to help Liberia

The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the country’s National Transitional Government have launched an appeal for $121 million to fund humanitarian activities next year, including more than $51 million to help people return to their homes in the West African country.“Liberia has made tremendous progress in the political, security, social and the humanitarian fronts, despite the many problems. But it is far too early to declare victory and just leave. Humanitarian support is still urgently needed. There are hundreds of thousands of IDPs (internally displaced people) and refugees that remain in camps that need to come home and restart their lives,” the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Alan Doss, said at the launch earlier this week.The gap between humanitarian assistance and development is not easily bridged, he said, but “I hope that this will be the last major humanitarian appeal for Liberia because it is time to move forward on to recovery and development.”The National Transitional Government, which took over at the end of 14 years of conflict, will be succeeded next month by an elected Government.Outlining the basic priorities of the humanitarian appeal, the UN Acting Humanitarian Coordinator, Angela Kearney, said it will provide basic social services and protection to vulnerable populations, including those affected by HIV/AIDS.The funding will also revitalize communities, enabling them to become productive in sustainable development, and strengthen the capacity of civil society and local authorities to support the recovery process, she said.The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which is requesting $51.4 million, said $37 million of that would be used for assisting over 16,000 refugees living in Liberia, repatriating approximately 100,000 Liberian refugees from neighbouring countries, and reintegrating and protecting the returnees.The other $14 million would be used to provide protection and return assistance to Liberia’s 260,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), UNHCR said.

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