The UN refugee agency said on Thursday that it had repatriated some 66,807 Somali refugees from Kenya since the voluntary return exercise commenced in December 2014.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its bi-weekly update released in Nairobi that some 65,470 refugees were supported to return to their home in Somalia from the Dadaab refugee camp in northeast Kenya.
“During the period under review (May 16-31), 1,620 refugees were supported to return to Somalia,’’ UNHCR said, adding that some 26,156 were supported from Dadaab in 2017 alone.
According to the refugee agency, currently, 19,515 refugees are registered for voluntary repatriation, noting that there has been reduction in the number of persons repatriated for the last four weeks under review.
“This reduction could be attributed to drought and the cholera outbreak that has affected several parts of Somalia, he suspension of road convoys as a result of heavy rains in Dadaab area of operation and some parts of Somalia, as well as the ongoing Ramadhan,” UNHCR said.
More than two million Somalis have been displaced in one of the world’s most protracted humanitarian crises that have now entered its third decade.
An estimated 1.1 million people are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within Somalia and nearly 900,000 are refugees in the region.
Experts say continuing political and security stabilisation progress in Somalia, along with growing pressures in hosting countries, makes this a critical moment to renew efforts to find durable solutions for Somali refugees. (Xinhua/NAN)