Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

Somalis return from Ethiopia

Briefing notes

Somalis return from Ethiopia

1 September 2000

UNHCR is continuing the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees from Ethiopia to safe and stable "areas of recovery" in north-east and north-west Somalia. On August 18, a total of 1,539 people were repatriated from Hartisheik camp, bringing to more than 30,000 the number of returnees this year.

A total of 111,877 Somalis have been assisted to return since the operation began in 1997. Last year, one camp in Hartisheik was closed following the repatriation of most of its residents to Somaliland (north-west Somalia), with the few remaining residents being transferred to another of the camps. As of today, there are some 136,000 Somalis left in eight camps in eastern Ethiopia.

In addition to this exercise, 6,800 Ethiopians who had been in Ethiopian camps the camps since the fall of the Syad Barre regime in 1991 have returned to their home regions, with the agreement and cooperation of Ethiopian authorities. They receive the same aid package as Somali refugees upon leaving the camps, including a nine-month food ration and a transportation allowance, as well as kitchen sets and other non-food items.

The repatriation of Somalis from Kenya also began this year. So far, about 800 Somalis went back to their homes from Dadaab and Kakuma camps. We are waiting for conditions to improve in southern Somalia before facilitating return for another 140,000 Somalis still in Kenyan camps.