Mogadishu, May 19 (IANS) Some 30,600 Somalis have returned to their country from Yemen since the beginning of war in Yemen in 2015, the UN refugee agency said on Friday.
The UNHCR said increasing numbers of Somalis are approaching the agency for assistance to support their return, citing safety concerns and limited access to services in Yemen, Xinhua news agency reported.
“UNHCR is now providing some support to those choosing to return on their own,” a UN agency statement said.
“In 2017, UNHCR is able to assist up to 10,000 Somali refugees who have made the choice to return, based on the information received at Return Help Desks on conditions in Somalia and the assistance package that is being offered both in Yemen and Somalia,” it said.
Yemen has been both a destination and a transit hub for refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa and beyond. The overwhelming majority of refugees in Yemen, 91 per cent or some 255,000, are Somali refugees.
The UNHCR said its humanitarian operations in Yemen will continue to provide support to refugees who remain in Yemen.
It said most Somali refugees registered in Yemen originate from Banadir, Lower Shabelle, Bay, Middle Shabelle and Woqooyi Galbeed regions.
In Yemen, most reside in Aden, Sana’a and Lahj governorates, the latter of which is where Yemen’s only refugee camp, the Kharaz refugee camp, is located.
The UNHCR said most refugees opt to return to Mogadishu, in the anticipation that assistance and services will be more accessible and available.