General News of Thursday, 31 March 2011
Ampain, (W/R) March 31, GNA 97 The Assistant Public Information Officer of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Madam Ewurabena Hutcful, has debunked media reports about shortage of food at Ampain and Elubo refugee camps in the Western Region. She told the GNA in an interview that there is enough food at the camps and the refugees who complained of hunger were those who just arrived from the Cote d'Ivoire and were going through registration process.
Madam Hutchful indicated that about 200 asylum seekers arrive daily, saying, currently there are 3,129 of them at both camps with 60 percent of them being women and the rest children and men. She explained that the UNHCR, Ghana Refugee Board, Catholic Secretariat, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and other agencies had been supportive in providing food and other social amenities to the asylum seekers.
According to her, the host communities had been gracious and showed immense hospitality to the refugees by sharing their food, water and other social amenities with them. On the security situation at the camps, she said the security agencies had been on high alert and averted unnecessary infiltration of security personnel from the Ivory Coast.
"Even though there were security lapses at the border initially but at the moment the Police Service, Immigration Service, Bureau of National Investigation, Customs Excise and Prevention (CEPS) under Ghana Revenue Authority and other security agencies have ensured security at both camps and the border though the security services are in the best position to tell you more about what they are doing," Madam Hutchful said.
She noted that the Ghana Health Service was providing health services to those who came with various ailments with the support of the mobile clinic made available by the Ellembelle District Assembly. Durbars are also organised to educate them on how to observe hygienic practices at the camps to avert the outbreak of cholera and other communicable diseases.
She advised the media to always consult the authorities concerned on the refugee situation to avoid sensational reportage that could create fear and panic in the host communities.