Humanitarian Crisis in Liberia Worsens as U.S. Continues to Debate Sending Troops

July 24, 2003

Monrovia is short of water, food and medicine, 300,000 people are displaced from their homes and hospitals are brimming with wounded civilians. We go to Liberia to speak with Reuters correspondent Alphonso Toweh.

Government forces pushed rebels back across a key bridge in Liberia’s capital of Monrovia yesterday.

Control of the bridge had put the rebels in position to strike at the road to the country’s main airport and to encircle downtown, the last stronghold of President Charles Taylor.

The heavy fighting shattered a day-old cease-fire pledge sending thousands of families fleeing from their homes.

The humanitarian situation in Liberia is grim. Thousands of people are living rough in a city that is short of water, food and medicine. Aid agencies reported that Monrovia?s hospitals were brimming with wounded civilians and that up to 300,000 people were displaced from their homes in and outside the city.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Washington Times that the U.S. has an obligation "not to look away" when a desperate situation like this arises.

  • Alphonso Toweh, Reuters correspondent in Monrovia, Liberia.