Repatriation from Kenya to Ethiopia
UNHCR yesterday began the return of more than 1,400 Ethiopian refugees from the Dadaab camps in north-eastern Kenya to Ethiopia's Ogaden region.
A first UNHCR-chartered flight carried 53 refugees home yesterday, 15 July. Returnees aboard the two-hour flight received food and material to help their reintegration, as well as the equivalent of $60 for onward travel to their homes and to get re-established. The airlift is scheduled to run for several weeks.
The returnees include Ethiopians who fled the Ogaden when war broke out between Somalia and Ethiopia in 1977. They first sought asylum in Somalia, but when civil war erupted there in the early 1990s, they escaped to Kenya, where they have been assisted by UNHCR in the Dadaab camps since 1991.
The airlift marks the last large return movement of long-time Ethiopian refugees from Kenya, which once hosted nearly 100,000 refugees from the country. After the end of the airlift, the number of Ethiopians in camps will stand at just 3,000. In all, there are 180,000 refugees in Kenya, principally from Somalia and Sudan.