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Sudan Tribune

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UNHCR to resume repatriation of Eritrean refugees in Sudan

GENEVA, Oct 14, 2003 (Xinhua) — The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is set to resume Wednesday the repatriation of about 36,000 Eritrean refugees who have registered to go home from camps mainly in eastern Sudan.

UNHCR spokesperson Kris Janowski said at a press briefing on Tuesday that the movement was suspended on July 8 because of the long, rainy season which hampers road travel in many parts of eastern Sudan, an area which is hosting some 100,000 Eritrean refugees. The rainy season in Sudan will officially end on Oct. 15.

Janowski said the registration of the first group of 67 families, who are expected to leave on the first convoy, was completed Monday.

He said the refugees will be dropped off at a transit center in the border town of Tesseney, where they will receive a cash grant, basic household supplies and three-months of food provided by the World Food Program. From Tesseney, they will make their own way to their villages of origin.

According to the UNHCR, it expects to have convoys every four days from Sudan to Eritrea. Since May 2001, 103,000 Eritrean refugees have returned from Sudan, more than 50,000 of them with UNHCR assistance.

UNHCR said it will hand over six sites vacated by refugees on Thursday to authorities in the state of Gadaref, some 400 kilometers southeast of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.