Liberia: Catholic agency delivers desperately-needed food

 Caritas Liberia, the sister agency of CAFOD, distributed desperately needed food to newly displaced persons along the highway between Monrovia and Gbarnga over the weekend, with the help of the World Food Programme. They continued their efforts until Zeinzu, a town about 50 km south of Gbarnga. In response to the high food needs throughout the country, Caritas Liberia visited Newland Displaced Camp, Salala Town, and Zeinzu Town, where they handed out high protein biscuits to about 350 families, or approximately 1,600 people. Distributions will continue once supplies are replenished, hopefully within the next few days. People living in Newland Displaced Camp, on the outskirts of Caresburg, had not yet received relief assistance, and most were malnourished and desperate. Additionally, people living in Salala Town were not in good health, and welcomed help from Caritas. The largest number of new arrivals was in Zeinzu Town, where people have sought refuge in private homes, school buildings, and churches. A significant militia presence and the government's Anti-terrorist Unit have created uncertainty. "Some internally displaced persons complained of security harassment from government militia in the bushes, where they have previously sought refuge, causing them to come to town," said George Farngalo, director of Caritas Gbarnga near the Guinean border. He and his colleague, Victor Sann, carried out the food distributions. Caritas Liberia is working closely with the Caritas Internationalis Emergency Response Support Team to meet the emergency needs of the Liberian people. Support has already been given to rejuvenating a number of health clinics that had been looted during the fighting. The team in Liberia, which has taken up its short-term mandate, consists of Stanley Sheriff from Caritas Liberia, Barbara Krumme, a medical consultant from Caritas Germany, Alistair Dutton, a water engineer from CAFOD and Mariska Smolders, a communicator from Caritas Netherlands.

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