In addition to its national population of over 35 million, Algeria hosts Western Saharan Sahrawi refugees in four camps near the south-western town of Tindouf. The conflict over control of the Western Sahara territory reached a humanitarian turning point in 1975, when Sahrawi people fled to Algeria for refuge. In 1986, the international community was requested to take the lead in the provision of humanitarian assistance until a durable solution was reached.

With an arid climate and temperatures that exceed 50°c in the summer, less than 4% of Algerian land is arable. Sand and dust storms are common throughout the year and water is scarce and heavily mineralized. Besides limiting Algeria’s agricultural capacity, these climate conditions are often the cause of respiratory and diarrheic diseases.

As a consequence of the political impasse, ongoing humanitarian assistance is needed. In spite of the difficult living conditions, Western Sahara refugees are notably organized and manage their own society and institutions within the camps. The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) continues monitoring the ceasefire and preparing the conditions allowing a referendum on self-determination.

In January 2011 an unprecedented wave of simultaneous protests and riots, sparked by sudden rises in staple food prices, erupted across the country. WFP is working to ensure security of food supplies to the camps and to establish emergency buffer stocks for the refugees.


WFP Offices
Subscribe & Share

Get involved with Latest News and Stories

Country at a glance 2014
Planned Beneficiaries124,960
Beneficiary needs (mt)26,900
Beneficiary needs ($US)21,180,068