Inter-ethnic conflicts related to land tenure between Dokpolou and Nadong communities in north-eastern Ghana in April 2010 have resulted in the flight of some 3,800 Ghanaians from both communities to the neighbouring Savanes region of Togo, in the northern prefecture of Tandjoaré. The refugees were welcomed and hosted by the local communities who are of the same ethnic background. The refugees left all their belongings behind, compelling the host communities to share their resources with them. The arrival of the refugees coincided with the lean season and resulted in an exhaustion of already scarce resources, thus rendering living conditions increasingly difficult for both the refugees and the local population.
At the onset of the crisis, the Government of Togo responded with the support of traditional partners such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund to assist the refugees with food and non-food items. Since June 2010, WFP has been providing food assistance to both refugees and the host population through the regional emergency operation 104650 and the immediate response emergency operation 200171. However, given the prevailing poverty and food insecurity in the Savanes region,a joint assessment mission conducted by WFP and UNHCR in September 2010 recommended the continuation of food assistance for both the host and refugee populations up to the next harvest. Meanwhile, livelihood support will be provided to the refugees to help them engage in the next agricultural season (March-May). Continued food assistance will provide additional time for UNHCR and the Government of Togo to find a solution to this crisis in consultation with the Government of Ghana as well as enable the refugees to participate in the 2011 agricultural season.
WFP will provide food assistance through general food distributions to refugees and the most vulnerable people among the host families as well as through food for work during the leanseason for host households participating in reforestation and rehabilitation of rural roads. Moderately malnourished children under five from both refugee and host communities will receive supplementary feeding rations until they recover. Overall, this operation will reach 6,000 beneficiaries, including 3,800 refugees and 2,200 members of the host population.
The overall goal of this EMOP is to contribute to saving the lives of the Ghanaian refugees in northern Togo and ease the burden of the refugees on the host population. Immediate objectives are to (i) reduce acute malnutrition among refugees who have fled Ghana as a result of land tenure conflicts; (ii) protect and prevent the deterioration of the host population’s livelihoods due to the refugees’ presence; and (iii) mitigate the negative impact of the refugees’ presence on the environment. The operation is in line with WFP Strategic Objective 1 (Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies) and Strategic Objective 2 (Prevent acute hunger and invest in disaster preparedness and mitigation measures). It will also contribute to Millennium Development Goals 1, 4 and 7.