Over 250,000 refugees return to Somalia, others vow not to leave


Over 250,000 refugees return to Somalia, others vow not to leave

In Summary

  • The repatriation to Mogadishu and Kismayu was mainly done by air after the use of buses was suspended due to poor roads occasioned by heavy floods along Dadaab-Liboi-Dhobley road.
  • The remaining refugees now receive food rations once a month as compared to twice a month before since the funds for Dadaab humanitarian operations were reduced significantly to about 25% of what they used to receive in 2011/2012.
  • Over 50% of the current population of 208,616 in Dadaab refugee complex do some small businesses to supplement what the UNHCR provide them with which has since reduced drastically.

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) has voluntarily repatriated a total of 254,811 in the last seven years.

The repatriation to Mogadishu and Kismayu was mainly done by air after the use of buses was suspended due to poor roads occasioned by heavy floods along Dadaab-Liboi-Dhobley road.

Also Read68.5M people displaced worldwide: UN

According to a security expert at the UNHCR who sought anonymity, the terror group Al Shabaab has planted a lot of improvised explosive devices (IED) along the same road putting the lives of refugees at risk.

Speaking during a Refugee market day in Dadaab town, head of operations in the UNHCR Dadaab Sub-office Jean Bosco Rushatsi said another 4,949 non Somali refugees have been relocated to Kalobeyei in Kakuma camp.

He said his office was in a constant contact with their office in Somalia which takes over the refugees as soon as they cross over the Kenyan border in line with a tripartite agreement signed by Kenya and Somalia government together with UNHCR in November 2013.

However refugees interviewed were reluctant to return to their countries of origin through voluntary repatriation citing lack of social amenities such as proper health care and education system as well as insecurity.

Halima Mahat a Somali bantu who came to the camp in 2004 and sells vegetable including kales, eggplant, pumpkin, sugar cane, tomato, amongst other items said the health and education standards in Somalia cannot be compared to that of Kenya.

She added that her children are schooling in Kenya and the small business she is doing was to cater for their schools fees.

Also ReadSuicide rates rise in Kakuma as refugees lose hope

Mohammed Abdi an officer working with Refugees Education Trust (RET) who trained the refugee women on farming said it has greatly boost their health status as they can have balanced diet at their disposal despite making small money out of it.

Majority of them have been trained by UN agencies in various livelihood skills that they said will help them in self-reliance when they return to their country of origin.

Parach Machar from South Sudan, who graduated in electrical installation, said he too was not ready to go back home owing to civil war in his country but hopes one day he will.

He was grateful to UNHCR implementing partners for imparting him with knowledge and skills that will be of use once he returns to his country.

Over 50% of the current population of 208,616 in Dadaab refugee complex do some small businesses to supplement what the UNHCR provide them with which has since reduced drastically.

They now receive food rations once a month as compared to twice a month before since the funds for Dadaab humanitarian operations were reduced significantly to about 25% of what they used to receive in 2011/2012.

 

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Story By Amos Sambu
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