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General News
Over 5,000 Ivorian refugees arrive in Ghana 4/3/2011
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Friday that over 5,000 refugees from Cote d''Ivoire had arrived in neighboring Ghana due to the intensified armed conflicts in the French-speaking country.

UNHCR estimated that the conflicts had displaced over 300,000 civilians, many of them fleeting to Ghana from Abidjan.

"But with this week''s clashes, we are seeing more people crossing through border points further north in Sampa and Atuna, in the Brong Ahafo Region (in the North Western fringes of Cote d''Ivoire, more than 430 km west of Ghana''s capital Accra)," UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said in a statement.

Ewurabena Hutchful, UNHCR information officer, told Xinhua here that some 1,300 Ivorians entered Ghana this week to avoid fresh fighting in western region of Duékoué, central region of Daloa and north-east region of Bondoukou.

Another 250 arrived from Abidjan, where security conditions were precarious, she added.

More and more cars with Cote d''Ivoire plates were seen on the streets of Accra and other cities in Ghana.

Most refugees from Cote d''Ivoire currently accommodated in host communities, with 1,700 of them staying in a new camp set up by the UNHCR and the Ghanaian authorities in Ampain, 55 km from the south-west Elubo border point between the two countries.

She discredited media reports about shortage of food at the refugee camps, saying that the agency had adequate food, shelter, medical care and other essential supplies to cater for the refugees.

"We have enough food to feed up to 4,000 people for two months, " Hutchful told Xinhua via telephone.

"The World Food program will take over food distribution in line with international convention as the number rises to 5,000," she said.

According to the UNHCR, 60 percent of the refugees were women and children, who travelled eight hours by bus to the south- western border town at Elubo with few belongings while others spent as many as four days reaching the border point in Sampa at the midpoint shared between Ghana and Cote d''Ivoire.

The UNHCR said it had prepared to receive up to 25,000 refugees.

Following the election in November 2010, Cote d''Ivoire has been torn apart due to controversy over the result of the election.

Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara was declared winner of the presidential election by the electoral body, but incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who was declared winner by the Constitutional Council, refused to step down.

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