People are walking several hours or days before they get on barges to the rivers bordering the West African nations, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees said.
A few deaths have been reported among the refugees, including a child who drowned during the crossing of the Cestos River into Butuo. Observers are seeing malnourished children and people with malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhea.
"We are referring the most severe cases to Saclepea, a five-hour drive on very rough roads. In some locations without ambulances we are transferring the patients on board UNHCR vehicles," the agency said in a statement.
"Some are arriving with severely swollen feet, like a 75-year-old man whom we transferred from Butuo, one of the main entry points into Liberia. Some families said they had walked three to four days through the bush with little food."
The displacement is the fallout of the November 28 presidential runoff, after which the country's Independent Electoral Commission named opposition leader Alassane Ouattara the winner. But its Constitutional Council invalidated those results and declared that incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo won.
The country has been paralyzed by a political stalemate and scores of people have died in violence there. International powers, such as the United States, the United Nations, and the African Union have recognized Ouattara as the winner and are urging Gbagbo to cede power.
Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States on Friday warned they will not hesitate to use "legitimate force" to defuse the crisis if Gbagbo fails to step down.
Some perspective to keep in mind this holiday season, and there's a lesson to be grateful for what we do have in America, even those of us who have little or nothing.