More than 254,000 refugees repatriated since 2013: UNHCR

Written By: Lynace Mwashighadi

Kenya has repatriated a total of 254,811 refugees to Somalia since 2013.

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According to a report released by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) to mark World Refugee Day, the repatriation was done mainly through airlifting owing to poor roads and insecurity posed by the Al-shabaab militia.

As Kenyans join the rest of the world in marking world refugee day, calls for tolerance, support and humanitarian assistance to families who have fled their countries resonated in Garissa County.

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According to the report released, the population of asylum seekers in Kenya declined from 553,900 to 451,100 in 2016, accounting for nearly 20 per cent.

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Speaking during Refugee market day in Dadaab town, head of operations in the UNHCR Dadaab Sub-office Jean Bosco Rushatsi noted that 4,949 non Somali refugees have been relocated to Kalobeyei in Kakuma camp.

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The repatriation exercise has however faced a number of challenges.

However refugees interviewed said they are reluctant to return back to their countries citing lack of crucial amenities such as proper health care and education in addition to insecurity.

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Similar sentiments were shared by Mohammed Abdi an officer working with Refugees Education Trust.

Over 50% of the current populations of 208,616 in Dadaab refugee complex have some small businesses to supplement rations from the UNHCR.

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