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An IRC health worker testing for the Ebola virus examines a sample on slide on a microscope
Road to recovery


The International Rescue Committee provides vital support to Liberians recovering from a 14-year civil war as well as the worst Ebola epidemic in history.

Country facts
  • Population: 4,195,666
  • Number of refugees: 22,272
  • Rank in Human Development Index: 177 of 188
IRC response
  • Started work in Liberia: 1996

Liberia crisis briefing

The IRC has been working in Liberia since 1996, initially helping hundreds of thousands of Liberian families rebuild after a devastating civil war, as well as protecting refugees who fled violence in nearby Ivory Coast. When an outbreak of Ebola erupted in Liberia in March 2014, the IRC was at the forefront of the fight to stop the spread of the deadly virus. Today we are providing ongoing support as Liberians recover from this crisis.

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What caused the current crisis in Liberia?

In 2003, Liberia’s 14-year civil war came to an end after claiming the lives of more than 250,000 Liberians. The conflict destroyed or significantly disrupted the country’s infrastructure, health services and education systems.

More than a decade into post-conflict recovery, Liberia was again plunged into crisis by an Ebola outbreak in March 2014. Ebola overwhelmed the country’s fragile health system and took the lives of nearly 5,000 people.

Today, the country is continuing to recover from the long conflict and recent Ebola outbreak as it works to stabilize and strengthen communities and basic services.

What are the main humanitarian challenges in Liberia?

Liberia was on the road to recovery and stability following its civil war, until the Ebola crisis struck, The country is in “post-Ebola” recovery, but a devastated health system, uneven economy and systemic corruption leave it vulnerable to other outbreaks and catastrophes.


How does the IRC help in Liberia?

The IRC works to improve health care nationwide and protect and empower women and youth. In partnership with the government and local communities, we work in eight counties -- Lofa, Nimba, Maryland, River Gee, Bong, Montserrado, Grand Bassa and Margibi -- to rebuild lives and promote cooperation.

As Liberia recovers from 14 years of conflict and an Ebola outbreak, the IRC continues to help by:

  • providing emergency relief;
  • supporting clinics and hospitals;
  • training health care workers specifically to address the needs of underserved populations;
  • linking at-risk girls with employment opportunities as well as life-skills and entrepreneurship training;
  • educating families about positive parenting techniques to reduce violence in the home and encourage healthy child development.

What still needs to be done?

Download the IRC's Liberia strategy action plan to learn more about our program priorities through 2020.

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