A quarter century of civil war, exacerbated by the rise of the violent al Shabaab terror group and cyclical droughts of historic proportions has seen wave after wave of Somalis leaving their home country. Today, some 463,000 Somalis are living as refugees in camps in neighboring Kenya.
In many respects, the conditions in Somalia have been steadily improving--the government and economy are taking shape, Somali security forces are emerging, and al Shabaab has steadily lost territory due to the combined actions of the Somali government, international partners, and the African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM forces.
And thanks to the Tri-partite agreement of 2014, refugees have been making their way home from Kenya. However, the country, its people living in Somalia and abroad, as well as repatriating refugees, are still in dire need of humanitarian help.
So, the United States is stepping up, said Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent visit to Kenya. “I am pleased to announce that the United States will be providing an additional $117 million more in support for refugees, returnees, and drought victims in the region, raising our total assistance just for this year to $265 million. And we will also contribute an additional $29 million to the UNHCR’s new Supplementary Appeal in support of the safe and voluntary return of refugees to Somalia”
This sum includes new humanitarian assistance of more than $87 million in food and non-food help for refugees and drought victims in Kenya and Somalia. Working through a number of humanitarian organizations, the United States will also provide aid and help improve conditions across Somalia, particularly in hard to reach areas of south-central Somalia. This aid includes support shelter, water sanitation, and hygiene, health and nutrition, and livelihoods programs for returnees in accessible areas of return.
The United States remains committed to helping address the serious humanitarian concerns in Somalia and continued protection and assistance for refugees in Kenya and elsewhere in the region, and continues to urge the international community to contribute more resources to humanitarian appeals to support durable solutions for Somali refugees.