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US announces $146 million for refugee support and return

Storyline:National News

The US has committed $146 million for humanitarian assistance to refugees in Kenya and the voluntary repatriation of Somalia refugees from Kenya’s Daadab camp.

Announcing the support in Nairobi Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the support will also support drought victims in Somalia. Out of the total amount, more than $59 million will be channeled to the refugee agency UNHCR to protect and assist refuges in Kenya and support voluntary refugee returns to Somalia.

The remaining $87million will be set aside for food and non- food support for refugees and drought victims in Kenya and Somalia.

“This contribution is available to support UNHCR’s enhanced plan for the voluntary return and reintegration of Somali refugees from the Dadaab camps and to ensure that any returns that take place from Kenya are truly voluntary, safe and dignified, consistent with international law, and within the framework of the Tripartite Agreement among UNHCR, Kenya and Somalia,” State Department Spokesperson said Monday.

The announcement follows Kenya’s spirited moves to close the Daadab camp by November this year. The US has however voiced its strong opinion against the closure of the camp instead calling for the adherence to the voluntary repatriation arrangement as agreed by Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR in 2013.

On Sunday, Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said his country was holding back its earlier threat to close the camp by end year but instead noted it would wait for peace and stability in Somalia before it goes ahead with the closure.

Daadab camp in Kenya’s north east hosts over 400,000 Somali refugees.