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Return of 2,400 Somali refugees leads to closing of third camp in Ethiopia


Return of 2,400 Somali refugees leads to closing of third camp in Ethiopia

The voluntary return of more than 2,400 Somali refugees last week brings to more than 50,000 the number of voluntary repatriations last year and leads to the closing of a third refugee camp in Ethiopia.
2 January 2002
Ethnic Tutsis and Hutus live together in harmony in the new village of Muriza.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Jan. 2 (UNHCR) - The repatriation of thousands of Somali refugees from Ethiopia has continued at a steady pace, reflecting a more stable situation in parts of the east African country and leading to the closing of three of eight refugee camps.

Two convoys last week repatriated 2,412 people from Ethiopia's Daror camp to north-west Somalia, bringing the total number of refugees who returned home in 2001 to 50,216. The latest returnees received a nine-month food ration, plastic sheeting and blankets to help them restart their lives.

The Daror complex, which includes health clinics, schools, water systems and generators, and which once hosted 50,000 refugees, will be handed over by UNHCR to the local community.

Earlier last year, Teferiber and Dawarnaji camps were also closed.

Another estimated 67,000 Somalis who fled following the outbreak of widespread civil war a decade ago remain in five other camps in Ethiopia. More than half are expected to return home by June, but some 30,000 others from southern Somalia cannot be repatriated because the security situation in that part of the country remains unstable.