RCA repatriates 5000 IDPs to their native villages in Somalia

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WAM Abu Dhabi, 30th Dec. 2011 (WAM) -- Over 400 Somali displaced families living at UAE Raja (Hope) makeshift camp in Mogadishu were finally back home and assumed normal life thanks to a repatriation programme carried out by the UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA).

RCA Chairman Ahmed Humaid Al Mazrouie said reports from Somali capital Mogadishu had confirmed that 465 families comprising about 3,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) had already returned to their towns and villages in the second phase of the programme.

The first convoy, he indicated, departed Mogadishu on November 3 allowing 2,000 IDPs to go back home, bringing to 5,000 the total number of repatriates from the 30,000 IDPs camp.

''Launched in November 2011, the RCA repatriation programmes provides every repatriating family with rations enough for three months in addition to $ 400 to help it purchase basic needs for resettlement. The aim is to help IDPs to go back to their fields and benefit from the good rainy season.

The UAE initiative, he added, had been well received and appreciated by the Somali President, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed,and his government who both lauded it as a UAE humanitarian gesture that would help restore security and stability in the drought-hit country.

Dr. Saleh Al Taie, RCA Deputy Secretary General for Relief and Projects, said US$ 1.6 million had been earmarked for the repatriation programme.

''The rainfall in the drought-struck regions provided an encouraging factor for Somali IDPs to go back home and practice farming and grazing, therefore becoming producers boosting local economy rather than waiting for assistance,''he said.

The one-year programme, he said,is being implemented in coordination with the Somali government and Somali Red Crescent Society.

Al Taie revealed that a number of international relief organisations including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Qatari Red Crescent and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had approached the RCA office in Mogadishu to get first-hand information on the implementation mechanism of the successful humanitarian initiative.

The RCA, he added, had contracted companies to dig tens of water for the purpose of drinking and irrigation to convince repatriates stay at their villages.

Three planes and a vessel carrying thousands of tons of relief supplies were sent by the RCA to Mogadishu, the recent of which was a plane loaded with 35 tons of dates and food assistance donated by the court of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA) has also donated 500 medical tents in support of the RCA's relief operations in Somalia.