Ebola stalls repatriation effort in Grand Gedeh County

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The Coordinator of the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, has said his institution has stopped repatriating refugees in the county as a result of the outbreak of Ebola in the region.

Joseph Cooper made the disclosure to reporters traveling with Information Minister, Lewis Brown in an exclusive interview at his Zwedru offices in Grand Gedeh County.

According to the Grand Gedeh LRRRC Coordinator, this decision on the part of his institution is intended to help the Government minimize the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

He told journalists that repatriating refugees during the period of a major disease outbreak is dangerous to the wellbeing of both the refugees and those who live in the host communities.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cooper said LRRRC has closed three refugee camps in Grand Gedeh which were less than 25km from the borders and has transferred the refugees from those camps to the PTP Refugee camp that is situated 75km away from major Ivorian borders.

This measure, according to Cooper, is in keeping with security recommendations from the Liberian Government aimed at reducing cross border insurgencies that is in compliance with international refugee conventions and protocols.

He named the refugee camps as Ziah refugee camp, Dogee refugee camp, and Solo refugee noting “the refugee from those camps were reasonable and did exactly as they were instructed”.

The LRRRC Coordinator told the journalists that the total refugee population has reduced from 75,000 to about 20,000, a number, which according to him, has drastically reduced by more than 50%.

He thanked the people of Grand Gedeh for their support to the Ivorian counterparts by giving them lands to make farms as well as their homes to provide shelter for the refugees.