Liberia: Picherinne’s story: I struggle to feed my twin babies

Publié: 18 mai 2011 14:58 CET

As Picherinne, 20, tried to escape the fighting that had engulfed her village in Côte d'Ivoire, she fled to the bush with her husband and twin babies.

But they were captured by fighters who killed her husband and took everything she had, including the babies’ clothes.

Picherinne managed to carry on with her two-month-old babies and joined other people who were traveling through the bush fleeing to neighbouring Liberia.

Finding safe haven

Carrying one baby on her front and one on her back, Picherinne walked for three weeks until she crossed the border into Liberia, finally finding refuge at Zorgowee camp in Nimba County.

Since fleeing Côte d'Ivoire in October 2010, Picherinne and her babies have been living in a hot, empty tent and struggling to survive. They have nothing: no food, no household goods, and certainly no toys for the children.

Other refugee families are overcrowded in their tents but Picherinne is alone. She did not find friends or relatives in the camp who can help with the kids or cooking, or anything else that could make life easier.

Picherinne’s children, a boy and a girl, lie and doze on a piece of fabric in the 35-degree heat. When they wake, Picherinne prepares to breast feed, but her milk is not enough and soon they begin to scream.

There are distributions of bulgar wheat but little else, and without enough food and water, it is difficult for a nursing mother to produce good milk – especially enough for twins.

Exhausted, dehydrated and sad, Picherinne says: “The children suffer. We do not have enough to eat. They cry day and night.”

Red Cross support

Picherinne and her children are registered with the Red Cross tracing programme, and volunteers from the Red Cross will try to find her family.

Red Cross volunteers also visit regularly to talk to Picherinne, check how she is doing and offer some comfort and support.

Picherinne and many others like her desperately need food, clean water, clothes, and cooking utensils among other basic human needs in order to survive.