KENYA: UN Agency to Repatriate 50,000 Somalis from Dadaab Camp

DADAAB: The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is planning for as many as 50,000 Somalis to return home from the Dadaab Refugee camp in Kenya.

“We are trying to plan for a possible 50,000 people (returning) in 2016,” Raouf Mazou, the UNHCR representative to Kenya, told Reuters in Dadaab camp.

He said, however, this figure for possible returnees might not be achieved without additional targeted aid to help those seeking to resettle meet basic requirements, such as school fees.

“They need specific support inside Somalia,” he said. Decades of war saw hundreds of thousands of Somalis flee to Kenya and other neighbouring countries after civil war erupted in 1991. More fled the 2011 famine. At its peak, Dadaab hosted 580,000 people.

According to Reuters, about 6,000 Somalis returned from Dadaab camp last year under a voluntary repatriation programme, while an additional 1,200 have left so far in January.

Returnees already receive a one-off cash handout and some basic foodstuffs and other items to help them get reestablished. But U.N. officials said some of the main complaints by those who had returned were about lack of schooling or adequate shelter, after leaving a camp where basic needs were met.

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