Western Sahara: Three UN agencies call to support Sahrawi refugees in Algeria

Algiers, October 3, 2016 (SPS) - The World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) appealed to donors to continue to support food needs of Sahrawi refugees living in Algeria, said the three agencies in a joint statement in Algeria on Monday.

The UN agencies' joint appeal for funding to provide food, housing, health and education in the refugee camps was launched to donors in Algeria on 19 September and will be renewed during the donors' meeting in Geneva, scheduled for late October.

The UN agencies warned of the "insufficient funding," which resulted in "a cut in basic food rations."

Since 1975, Sahrawi refugees have been living in five camps near the city of Tindouf, where the conditions are extremely difficult and they have remained "strongly dependent on external humanitarian aid," said the joint statement.

The UN agencies said that any cut or halt in WFP food assistance would have a severe impact on the food security and nutritional status of the refugees, especially among children, pregnant or breast-feeding women, elderly and the sick.

UNHCR representative in Algeria Hamdi Bukhari said that in New York Declaration, the signatory states committed to providing funding and additional humanitarian assistance to refugees.

For his part, UNICEF representative to Algeria Marc Lucet said that "Sahrawi refugees living in Tindouf camps are very dependent on food aid," adding "there is great anxiety among the camp population about any further cuts in food aid." (SPS)

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