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Thousands of displaced Somalis begin the journey home

After months of displacement, thousands of drought-affected Southern Somalis are beginning to head home with the help of humanitarians, IRIN reports.

"It is not realistic to maintain hundreds of thousands people in overcrowded IDP (internally displaced person) camps indefinitely," Abdullahi Shirwa, head of Somalia's National Disaster Management Agency, told the publication. "So the best option is to help return those willing to do so to their home areas."

Officials chose to start helping refugees make their way back home now to give them a chance to take advantage of the remaining time of the rainy season. According to Mohamed Abdullahi Hussein, the director of the United Arab Emirates-Red Crescent Society, approximately 4,000 families, or 24,000 people, will be resettled in the upcoming weeks.

Hussein added that aid agencies and volunteers will be giving three months worth of food to each family along with shelter material and between $100 and $150, depending on the size of each family.

The source reports that all returnees volunteered to go back home and most are from the areas of Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle.

According to Hussein, many of the former refugees are farmers and are eager to take advantage of the best rainy season they have seen in more than three years. 
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