ALGIERS – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a contribution from the Government of Spain that will be used to provide crucial food assistance to vulnerable refugees from Western Sahara residing in camps in Algeria.
For over 40 years, Sahrawi refugees have been living under extremely harsh conditions in the Sahara desert in southwestern Algeria. The refugee women, men, boys and girls – living in five camps near Tindouf – depend on external humanitarian assistance. As employment opportunities are limited, WFP provides the primary source of food for these people.
The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development – in cooperation with the autonomous communities of Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid and Murcia – responded to the pressing humanitarian needs of this vulnerable refugee population with a combined contribution of €1.9 million.
“Spain is among the key donors which consistently seek to maintain a secure lifeline of food assistance for Sahrawi refugees,” said Romain Sirois, WFP Representative in Algeria. “WFP also appreciates that several Spanish communities have contributed to the food security and nutrition of the Sahrawi population.”
This donation contributes to WFP’s distribution of 125,000 food rations to Sahrawi refugees that consist of rice, barley and wheat flour, pulses (including lentils and yellow-split peas), fortified vegetable oil, sugar and corn soya blend.
“The situation of Sahrawi refugees living in camps is one of Spain’s top humanitarian priorities. Spain is the first bilateral donor to support these refugees with contributions of almost ten million euros annually in 2014 and 2015,” explained Fernando García Casas, Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America. “The Sahrawi crisis is one of the most forgotten and old crises. This is why raising awareness on it is critical to gather the necessary support to cover the basic needs of the Sahrawi refugees.”
WFP has been supporting refugees from Western Sahara in Algeria since 1986. All WFP assistance in Algeria is carried out and monitored in collaboration with national and international organizations to ensure that assistance reaches the people for whom it is intended.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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