$9.1 million UNHCR appeal for Togolese repatriation
UNHCR issued an appeal on Friday for US$9.1 million for the repatriation and reintegration of some 100,000 Togolese refugees remaining in Ghana and Benin.
The yearlong repatriation operation began Friday in Ghana, where each returnee received a three-month food ration and a $50 cash grant to cover the cost of transportation and household utensils.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is UNHCR's implementing partner in the project.
An initial group of 9,000 began departing from Ghana in an operation that is expected to last two weeks. Returnees make their own arrangements to go back to Togo. UNHCR and IOM are providing transport only for the sick and elderly.
Most of the 75,000 Togolese refugees in Ghana and the 26,000 in Benin are returning to Lomé, the capital of Togo. Of the total number, 75 percent are expected to seek assistance from UNHCR in going back to Lomé.
More than 300,000 Togolese refugees fled army abuse in 1993. Most of the refugees who went to Benin stayed with local families; others were accommodated in government reception centres. In Ghana, the refugees settled in villages near the Togolese border and in UNHCR camps.
Since the promulgation of an amnesty law in December 1994, some 200,000 of the refugees have returned to Togo spontaneously. UNHCR opened an office in Lomé last December to oversee, in collaboration with the government, the return of the refugees.
UNHCR's $9.1 million appeal includes $1.4 million for transportation and $3.3 million for domestic support.