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UNHCR Airlifts Trucks – As Nearly 30,000 Ivorians Cross into Liberia in 4 days

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The world’s second largest cargo aircraft, Antonov 24, today landed at the Roberts International Airport, 60 km from the Liberian capital, Monrovia, with 10 Mercedes Benz 1017 trucks, 100 Light Weight Emergency Tents and 200 rolls of Reinforced Plastic Tarpaulins as the UN refugee agency responds to an Ivorian refugee emergency.

Since Thursday, 24 February 2011, an estimated nearly 30,000 Ivorians have crossed over into Liberia following renewed violence in Cote d’Ivoire adding to nearly 40,000 Ivorians that the UN refugee agency and partners have already registered since last November.

“The ten trucks and other items are part of our efforts to promptly respond to the influx of Ivorian refugees, but we urgently more funding and logistics,” said the Officer-in-Charge of the UN refugee agency in Liberia, Mr. Raouf Mazou, who received the trucks at the airport. Mr. Mazou said UNHCR is urgently working with the Government of Liberia and partners to make contingent plans in the event of more influx. 

“The simple reason why we airlifted the trucks is time. It will take a minimum of one month to transport the trucks from Germany to Monrovia by sea,” remarked Senior Supply Officer Mats Hultgren. The trucks will be used to transport relief items and refugees away from the border villages to the Bahn Refugee Camp and transit centres that have been constructed.

Today’s airlift is the fourth UNHCR-chattered aircraft that has delivered relief items and logistics to the West African state, which also experienced 14 years intermittent civil war, but which ended seven years ago. Added to the airlifts, the UN refugee agency is also shipping more relief items and shelter construction materials.

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