Unseasonal Flooding affects 25,000 Sahrawi Refugees

Torrential rains have created havoc and huge damage in refugee camps in the deserts around Tindouf in western Algeria. Torrential rains have created havoc and huge damage in refugee camps in the deserts around Tindouf in western Algeria. © UNHCR/J.Gagné

October 30, 2015
Heavy rains have caused flooding and damage to five Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, affecting 25,000 Sahrawi refugees.

For over a week through October 26, unseasonal rains in southwestern Algeria have caused intense flooding and damage to five Sahrawi refugee camps. The five camps, which provide shelter to over 90,000 Sahrawi refugees, have suffered damages to about 60 percent of public buildings, including homes, shops, hospitals, schools and roads.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and partners have assisted 25,000 people, around 5,000 families, whose homes and food have been destroyed. Awserd and Dakhla camps were hit the hardest by the rainfall, destroying and damaging hundreds of mud-brick homes. Laayoune, Boujdour and Smara camps also endured damage from the rains.

UNHCR and partners continue to aid the camps, giving priority to refugees who have lost their homes. Bread, fresh food and drinking water have been delivered along with emergency housing materials. Other supplies were also airlifted from Accra, Ghana including 1,500 family tents, 10,000 plastic sheets, fleece blankets and kitchen sets.

Thousands of families have lost their homes and sanitation is an ongoing concern. Latrines need to be rebuilt and floodwaters removed to avoid disease and contamination of water sources. In response to a huge funding gap, the UNHCR appealed to donors for emergency funds to respond to the damage. UNHCR, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the World Food Programme submitted a joint US $20 million funding appeal to aid the crisis.

Last month marked the 40th anniversary since  the first camp to shelter Sahrawis escaping the territory of Western Sahara opened in 1975. Despite being one of the longest refugee situations in the world, the Sahrawi camps are often referred to as the “forgotten crisis.”  UN agencies and humanitarian organizations in the refugee camps have endured large funding cuts.


To read more, visit:

http://www.unhcr.org/562a19706.html
http://www.unhcr.org/563338686.html
http://reliefweb.int/report/algeria/devastating-flooding-affects-25000-sahrawi-refugees-tindouf-camps

Read 1825 times