Somalia: nearly 5,000 return this week from Ethiopia
Nearly 5,000 Somali refugees from camps in eastern Ethiopia have returned home to north-west Somalia this week. Another convoy with an estimated 1,000 people is scheduled to depart Daror camp, south-east of the eastern town of Jijiga, tomorrow (Aug. 25) for Hargeisa - the drop-off point in north-west Somalia, also called Somaliland. Tomorrow's convoy will bring to nearly 35,000 the total number of Somali refugees who have returned home from Ethiopia since the beginning of this year.
The returnees are picked up by UNHCR-hired trucks from the remote camps for the first leg of their return journey - a 60-km stretch to the border which takes several hours because of extremely poor road conditions. In some places, the roads have been washed away. From the border, the refugees board other trucks to Hargeisa, Somaliland's main town, before dispersing to their villages of origin, mainly around Hargeisa.
The refugees are given repatriation packages that include domestic items for every returning family and a nine-month supply of food for each returnee. The food package includes 150 kgs of cereals, 10 kgs of pulses and 5 litres of oil. Many refugees trade a portion of their food for either cash or goats and sheep to aid their integration back into communities that many of them left more than 13 years ago.
More than 25,000 refugees in Daror camp have already registered to return home. UNHCR expects to close the camp at the end of the return movements slated for completion before the end of the year. Daror will be the third of eight camps for Somali refugees to close this year. In June, UNHCR closed two other camps - Teferiber and Dawarnaje.