Famine is over in Somalia, the UN declared on Friday, raising hope that Somali refugees who fled into Kenya to escape hunger could soon be on their way home.
Food and Agriculture Organisation Director General Jose Graziano da Silva attributed the improvement to rains and humanitarian response.
“Long-awaited rains coupled with substantial agricultural inputs and humanitarian response deployed in the last six months are the main reasons for this improvement,” Mr da Silva told journalists in Nairobi on Friday after visiting southern Somalia.
However, he warned that the Horn of Africa State remains at risk unless long term measures are taken to ensure food security and political stability.
But a senior official at the Ministry of Immigration and Registration of Persons said any repatriation would be voluntary and no one will be forced to return home.
Refugee Camp Officer Harun Komen said that a refugee head count would be done in the next three weeks to confirm if the number of refugees in camps has gone down.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga said bringing peace and stability in Somalia would be the surest way to encourage Somali refugees hosted on Kenyan soil to go back home.
Speaking after meeting Danish Minister for International Development Christian Bach, the PM said that while there has been significant rainfall to warrant refugees to go back home, insecurity was still a concern in Somalia.
Mr Bach said the Danish Government would channel Sh6 billion to support African Union forces in Somalia.