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Kenya: weather expected to slow return from Ethiopia

Briefing notes

Kenya: weather expected to slow return from Ethiopia

21 November 2000

Wet weather conditions in northern Kenya are expected to significantly slow down the return movement of nearly 5,000 Kenyan refugees from camps in southern Ethiopia. Since the movement was started on 10 November, 2,179 refugees - nearly half the number expecting to be assisted back - have returned to their homes in Takaba, Mandera district of northern Kenya. The last convoy of 15 trucks to Takaba, 155 kilometres from the departure point in Moyale, got stuck on muddy roads and took nearly 12 hours to arrive in Takaba.

Movements to the other districts of Wajir and Marsabit, all in northern Kenya, are expected to take as much as 24 hours on the road. As a precautionary measure, UNHCR will now carry out road surveys ahead of every convoy movement and will only release convoys if satisfied that they are not likely to get stuck en route.

Returnees have so far been well-received by their communities. En-route security has been assured by security personnel. UNHCR hopes to complete this movement before the end of the year, one year after the government of Kenya disallowed the first group of Kenyan refugees to return home citing security concerns.