The ECOWAS Commission through its President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo has presented 300 metric tons of rice to the Government of Liberia for distribution to about 66,800 Ivorian refugees across the country.
The cost of the rice is estimated at US$500,000.00.
Making the presentation Tuesday at the National Port Authority, Mr. Ouedraogo said his organization was overwhelmed to deliver humanitarian assistance to citizens of an ECOWAS member state affected by humanitarian challenges.
The ECOWAS President narrated that having learned from the crises in some of ECOWAS member states, protocol on the mechanism relating to conflict prevention, management and peacekeeping was established in 1999 to respond urgently to countries that need ECOWAS intervention.
He said among other provisions, the Protocol's Article 40 and 41 of ECOWAS substantively provides that the ECOWAS Commission should develop appropriate mechanisms and tools to enable it undertake humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the population in the event of man-made or natural disaster.
He explained that during the Ivorian crisis, thousands of Ivorian were forcefully displaced, thus resulting in refugee crisis in many member states.
He added that funding for the rice and other humanitarian assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia was made possible following request made to the ECOWAS Heads of States by the ECOWAS Commission.
"Let me say that the overall ECOWAS assistance for Ivorian refugees in Liberia is over US$800,000 because an initial US$300,000 was given sometimes this year.
He hoped that the assistance will go a long way as an expression of solidarity by ECOWAS to the Ivorian refugees in Liberia.
Receiving the rice on behalf of the Liberian Government, Finance Minister Amara Konneh lauded ECOWAS Commission for the support, adding that the assistance is timely.
Minister Konneh said the Government of Liberia was grateful to ECOWAS for its numerous supports to the recovery process of member states.
The Liberian Government through the LRRRC and the WFP are expected to carry out the distribution exercise to Ivorian refugees across the country.
For her part, NPA Managing Director Matilda Parker said the port management was proud to make it facility available for the storage of the rice.
MD Parker said NPA makes its facility available with no cost attached, because they know that the refugees are in dire need of assistance.