General News of Friday, 25 March 2011
The Chairman of the Ghana Refugee Board, Ken Dzirasah says the board does not know the actual number of refugees streaming into Ghana from Cote d’lvoire as a result of their overwhelming numbers.
“The numbers are just overwhelming; it will take some time before we can overcome all these difficulties”.
There has been fighting between forces loyal to incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, who is refusing to step down, and those of his rival, Alassane Ouattara, thought to have won the disputed November 2010 presidential polls.
On Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Thursday, Mr. Dzirasah was worried about the imminent stress the Ivorian refugee situation has on the country’s limited facilities.
“When your capacity to cope with the situation is smaller than you can meet the situation with, you tend to be overwhelmed”.
He explained that “we have a crisis on our hands; with the resources that we have and our capacity, it is really an influx”.
He said he had just returned from the refugee camp in the Western Region where the refugees are being settled until calm returns to their country.
The Chairman of the Refugee Board noted that the board was looking for land to convert into a temporary shelter for the refugees ahead of a more permanent place in the Elembelle constituency.
He added that the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) supported by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have been able to resolve the logistical and relief constraints they faced at the camp.
Mr. Dzirasah was optimistic that the Ghana Refugee Board, NADMO and UNHCR would collaborate to intensify efforts to manage the refugee situation.
"We are not throwing our hands in the air in despair. The assurance we are giving Ghana is that we shall overcome the problem; it is a matter of time," he said.