European Union helps WFP tackle malnutrition among Sahrawi refugees in Algeria
The EU’s support to WFP’s nutrition activities comes at a key moment. The latest joint WFP-UNHCR nutrition survey found that global acute malnutrition rates among Sahrawi refugee children under five reached 7.6 percent in 2019 compared to 4.7 percent in 2016. Moreover, half of children under five and half of women aged 15 - 49 suffer from anaemia.
“The increasing malnutrition trend in the Sahrawi refugee camps is worrying, as it can lead to more deaths and disease,” said EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid’s Head of Office in Algeria Patrick Barbier. “With this new grant to WFP, the EU wants to make sure that refugee children and mothers are helped and spared unnecessary suffering. Sahrawi refugee families can continue to rely on the EU for vital humanitarian support.”
The new EU funds will allow WFP to provide women and children with special nutrition products to treat and prevent malnutrition over the next 18 months. It will also enable activities promoting healthy eating through increased nutrition education.
“WFP is grateful for the EU’s generous contribution to our nutrition programmes which were chronically underfunded in the past,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Algeria Imed Khanfir. “We need regular and predictable funding to treat and prevent malnutrition in the Tindouf refugee camps.”
This funding comes in addition to a €4 million EU contribution provided earlier this year to cover basic food needs of thousands of Sahrawi refugee families. The EU is the largest donor to WFP’s work supporting Sahrawi refugees in Algeria, covering 30 percent of the 2019 funding requirements for this operation.
Sahrawi refugees have been living for the past 40 years under harsh conditions in the Sahara Desert in southwestern Algeria. Hosted in five refugee camps near the Algerian town of Tindouf, they rely primarily on WFP assistance for their food needs. Their employment and livelihood opportunities remain extremely limited.
WFP has been supporting refugees from Western Sahara in Algeria since 1986. WFP operations in Algeria are carried out and monitored in collaboration with national and international organizations to ensure food assistance reaches the people for whom it is intended.
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