EMBARGOED TO THE MEDIA UNTIL TUESDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2003, 1100 HRS NEW YORK TIME

 
 

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Hear Our Voices - Liberia

Amah's struggle

 I thank God for the UNHCR assistance that I have received so far. I am not complaining. But now I need a house, please help me!

 Liberian refugee Ibrahim Amah is 33 years old, a teacher and now a widower. He has had to flee for his life three times in the last six months. He and his family came from the Cape Mount area of Golakanneh district in Liberia. In April this year, they fled fighting between rebels and the government forces, arriving in Liberia's Sinje camp near the border with Sierra Lone.

In mid–May, there were rumours that the camp might be attacked by rebels so Amah decided not to take chances or risk his family's lives by staying at Sinje. They walked for three days to Sierra Leone. At the Gendema crossing point in Sierra Leone's Pujehun district, they were registered and assisted by officials from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, who moved them to Taiama camp in Moyamba district, where he currently lives with about 7,000 other Liberian refugees.

In late September, Amah's house was hit by lightening during a storm.  His wife was killed and he and his eight–month–old daughter Baintu were burned. His two sons – Davidson, six, and Jefferson, nine – were also injured.

Because of the funding shortfall UNHCR is facing this year, it will be hard for Amah and his children to receive another individual shelter. The family has now been relocated to a transit booth planned for 10 people but shared with 40.

Amah wants to move on. "I want to move to another camp and start afresh. It affects me psychologically to see what's remained of my house. I don't want to remember that day."

Photo: UNHCR

 

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