August 26 2003
Emergency relief starts in Liberia's capital
SOS Children's Village Juah Town has been looted
26/08/2003 - Rice distribution will get underway this week to thousands of refugees at SOS Children's Village Monrovia. The emergency clinic will also open its doors. Bad news from Liberia's second SOS Children's Village in Juah Town: the village has been looted. The co-workers were able to either escape into the bush or be evacuated to Monrovia.
According to reports from SOS co-workers, the situation in Monrovia has somewhat stabilised, however the people are hoping that the approximately 5,000-strong UN Mission, expected to arrive in the country in October, will provide for a lasting peace. According to latest media reports, civil society in the country's interior is still experiencing hostile fighting - the fact is that war and chaos continue to prevail outside of Monrovia.
SOS Children's Village Juah Town, situated approximately 40 km north of the rebel-occupied harbour town Buchanan, has also been affected by the continuing hostilities in the country's interior. The history of the children's village in Juah Town in Bassa County is exemplary of the civil war from the beginning of the 90s until today. Now another tragic chapter has been added. Just as it was ready for occupancy, the SOS Children's Village had to be closed in 1990 and was occupied by marauding gangs for more than six years.
After renovation, the complex including a kindergarten and a school was ready to receive the children in 2000. In May this year the children and the co-workers had to be evacuated to Monrovia. Two weeks ago the SOS Children's Village was attacked again and looted by different groups. Staff remaining at the village were able to escape into the bush or be taken to Monrovia. Because of intense fighting, it is currently not possible to travel to Juah Town and the extent of the damage cannot yet be established. It is suspected that military groups and refugees are currently staying at the village.
Today a first distribution of 500 sacks of rice to 4,000 - 5,000 refugees got underway, who are still staying on the SOS Children's Village site in the Liberian capital. Each family of approximately ten people will receive one sack of rice, which should last them for one month. It is not yet clear whether the refuges will leave the SOS Children's Village after this relief action.
Necessary repairs could be made at the two-story desolate building in the city centre (previously the girl's youth house, which was forced to close by the civil war) so that an emergency clinic could start operations this week. Medicines have, until now, been organised by SOS Children's Villages. Concrete discussions are currently underway with the English NGO Merlin and a German relief organisation concerning a co-operation in the area of medical supplies.