Tuesday, May 1, 2007


I will be in Liberia until November, I have posted some information about the country.

From the World Health Organization:

"With a GDP per capita of US$140, Liberia emerges from 14 years of conflict as one of the poorest countries in the world. More than 80% of the population lives on less than $1 per day and 52% live in extreme poverty. Unemployment stands at 85%. One in six Liberians depends on international food assistance. Despite some progress towards peace and stability, the situation remains fragile, particularly in view of the precarious regional context. A large influx of refugees from Côte d’Ivoire could be disastrous.

Since December 2003, close to 100,000 ex-combatants have been disarmed and demobilized. The deployment of the UN peace-keeping forces has increased access to vulnerable groups, but new challenges are emerging with the imminent return of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, ex-combatants and refugees. Rehabilitation, reintegration and reconstruction activities are therefore going to be central to the country’s future stability.

Crisis involving: The Whole Population"

From BBC News:

"Liberia is Africa's oldest republic, but it became better known in the 1990s for its long-running, ruinous civil war and its role in a rebellion in neighboring Sierra Leone. Although founded by freed American and Caribbean slaves, Liberia is mostly made up of indigenous Africans, with the slaves' descendants comprising 5% of the population. The West African nation was relatively calm until 1980 when William Tolbert was overthrown by Sergeant Samuel Doe after food price riots. The coup marked the end of dominance by the minority America-Liberians, who had ruled since independence, but heralded a period of instability.

By the late 1980s, arbitrary rule and economic collapse culminated in civil war when Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) militia overran much of the countryside, entering the capital in 1990. Mr. Doe was executed. Fighting intensified as the rebels splintered and battled each other, the Liberian army and West African peacekeepers. In 1995 a peace agreement was signed, leading to the election of Mr. Taylor as president. The respite was brief, with anti-government fighting breaking out in the north in 1999. Mr. Taylor accused Guinea of supporting the rebellion. Meanwhile Ghana, Nigeria and others accused Mr. Taylor of backing rebels in Sierra Leone. Matters came to a head in 2003 when Mr. Taylor - under international pressure to quit and hemmed in by rebels - stepped down and went into exile in Nigeria. A transitional government steered the country towards elections in 2005.

Around 250,000 people were killed in Liberia's civil war and many thousands more fled the fighting. The conflict left the country in economic ruin and overrun with weapons. The capital remains without mains electricity and running water. Corruption is rife and unemployment and illiteracy are endemic. The UN maintains some 15,000 soldiers in Liberia. It is one of the organization’s most expensive peacekeeping operations."

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