10 June 2003
SOS Children's Village Juah Town evacuated due to fighting in Liberia
10/06/2003 - SOS Children's Village Juah Town was evacuated last month when rebel fighting threatened to break out in the interior of Liberia. Children and most co-workers were moved from Juah Town to the SOS Children's Village in Monrovia, where meanwhile the situation has also become critical.
The SOS Children's Village in Juah Town was evacuated last month, when rebel fighting threatened to break out in the interior of Liberia. Children and co-workers were taken to the SOS Children's Village in the coastal capital Monrovia. During the last few days the situation in Monrovia has also become increasingly critical. LURD rebels (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy), who aim to oust President Charles Taylor from power, have already reached the suburbs, fighting has broken out against government troops, foreigners are being evacuated.
All of the evacuated children and co-workers reached Monrovia unscathed and are well in spite of the burdens faced by the SOS Children's Village. The kindergarten and school at the premises are providing the children with a somewhat normal daily routine. Following the evacuation, 165 children are now living in the 15 family houses at the village in Monrovia.
The evacuation procedure occurred in various phases in order not to contribute to a possible outbreak of panic amongst the population of Juah Town. On May 8 and May 9, two groups of children were brought to Monrovia, including twelve of the village's youngest.
Militia entered the SOS Children's Village on May 12 and posed a serious threat due to their irrational behaviour. All remaining children and mothers were immediately moved out. Important files and valuable household goods were also transported to Monrovia. A further group of personnel were evacuated on May 13 when total chaos broke out in Juah City. The village director as well as a group of teachers and other co-workers remained and are guarding the facilities, which include a medical centre, kindergarten and primary school.
SOS Children's Villages has been affected by the civil unrest in Liberia for more than ten years, and has carried out emergency relief work for thousands of war victims. The village in Juah Town was officially opened in September 2002, following a cease-fire agreement and a gradual, although arguable, stabilisation of the political situation. Because of the civil war, SOS Children's Village Juah Town, which was completed back in 1990, could not be officially opened until September 2002. Amongst other things, it was occupied by marauding troops and had to be renovated.