NGO calls for holistic approach to address refugee situation in UER

Children Believe Fund (CB), a Non -Governmental Organization formerly called Christian Children Fund of Canada (CCFC), has called for a well coordinated and holistic approach to address the refugee situation in the Upper East Region. Mrs Esenam Kavi De Souza, the Associate Country Director of CB Ghana, a member of a visiting team from the NGO who spoke with the Ghana News Agency at Sapelliga, said though there had been reports on the situation, it was the first time CB Ghana and CB Burkina Faso were visiting the people to commiserate with them and to assess the situation in the various camps where the refugees had been kept. The team visited the refugee camp at Sapeliga in the Bawku West and Issaka-teng in the Binduri districts of the region, to have first-hand assessment of the situation and to enable them develop interventions with stakeholders in responding to the situation. Other members of the team were, Mrs Christelle Kalhoule, the West Africa Regional-Director of Children Believe, based in Burkina Faso, and Mr Samuel Oppong Kwabiah, Programmes Manager, together with some staff of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council (RCC). Mrs Kavi De Souza said the NGO would need a well coordinated plan in tackling the issues because working in isolation, would bring duplication and less results. She said though there were critical stakeholders such as the Ghana Refugee Board, UNHCR, NADMO, Immigration Service and the District Assemblies, who were contributing efforts towards alleviating Sharing some of the assessment the team had made on the grounds, Mrs Christelle Kalhoule said, 'There are some implications for children and women in general and there are issues of shelter, absence of health facility, schools, nutrition challenges which had implication on the children.' She said the NGO was currently addressing a similar situation in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast and would like to bring its expertise in humanitarian crisis to bear on the current issue in Ghana. She said the Sapeliga refugee camp site was well organised with a literate leader who kept records on members and new refugees arriving to the site. The records indicate that there were 252 permanent Asylum seekers, including 92 children and 173 latest arrivals, making a total of 425 members at the site. While At Issaka-Teng camp, in the Binduri District, closer to the Burkina Faso border, there are about 394 Asylum seekers. The site at Sapelliga had one hand-pump borehole constructed by UNICEF, limited toilet and hand washing facilities which the Associate Country Director said had implications especially health hazards such as outbreak of cholera or diarrhea diseases. Other observation made were the lack of food which affects the children as most of them looked malnourished, lack of access to education, lack of electricity and health post close to the camp. Based on the outcomes, Children Believe plans to work with stakeholders to ensure the dignity of the victims especially to ensure that children and women were well protected, Mrs Kalhoule said. She called on all stakeholders to help in the provision of basic supplies such as food, shelter and clothing to relieve the victims.

Source: Ghana News Agency