Eritrea: Thousands of displaced return to home areas, UN mission reports

Eritrea: Thousands of displaced return to home areas, UN mission reports

The Eritrean Government has reported the return of 81,468 internally displaced persons from camps to their home areas, a spokesman for the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) said today.

Of that number, about 71,000 have returned to the sub-zones of Senafe, Adi Quala and Tserona, spokesman Chris de Bono said in Asmara. While Government-organized returns in the Senafe sub-zone appear to have been completed, temporary camps in Senafe town are still facing water and sanitation problems.

The spokesman said UN agencies and humanitarian non-governmental organizations are increasingly involved in stabilizing the situation, but cautioned that sanitation and shelter could become a major issue in the camps if the rains begin in earnest.

Meanwhile, humanitarian mine action programmes are taking place in conjunction with the return of internally displaced persons to the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ), Mr. De Bono said.

Slovak and Bangladeshi de-mining units of the UNMEE peacekeeping Force have contributed to the effort, he said. The Mission was funding mine awareness training being conducted in the Debub and Gash Barka regions by the NGO Danish Church Aid under a contract with the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre.