Sabahi (Washington, DC)

29 November 2013

Somalia: Most Somali Refugees in Dadaab Fear Returning Home, Doctors Without Borders Says

The vast majority of Somali refugees in Kenya are afraid of returning to their home country, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Thursday (November 28th). MSF warned that aid must continue despite this month's voluntary repatriation deal between Kenya, Somalia and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

MSF assessments indicated that four out of five Somali refugees living in Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp fear returning, AFP reported. "Their reluctance to leave is despite poor living conditions in the camps," MSF said, noting that nearly half of people it interviewed said they had no means of keeping their homes dry during the current rainy season, one in ten had no access to latrines, and a quarter said they did not feel safe.

Dadaab is home to more than 400,000 mainly Somali refugees.

"No one chooses life as a refugee, and most refugees struggle to get by on what the government and aid agencies provide," said Jean-Clement Cabrol, director of operations for MSF. "Any decision to return should be made willingly and gladly, and not forced on them by a cut in aid."

Cabrol urged international organizations to continue providing the refugees aid in Kenya.

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