Some 30,600 Somalis have reportedly returned to Somalia from Yemen since the beginning of war in Yemen in 2015, China’s Xinhua news agency reported the UN refugee agency as saying on Friday.

The UNHCR said an increasing number of Somalis are approaching the agency for assistance to support their return, citing safety concerns and limited access to services in Yemen.

“UNHCR is now providing some support to those choosing to return on their own,” the UN agency said in a statement.

“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 percent 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 Somalia.

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.

Soo Dhiibo Fikirkaada, Waa Inoo Muhiim

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