Posted by: APO | 5 October 2007

Spain donates US$2.7 million to Western Saharan refugees

05 Oct 2007

Spain donates US$2.7 million to Western Saharan refugees

ALGIERS – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a US$2.7 million contribution from Spanish Government to assist thousands of Western Saharan refugees in southwest Algeria.

“We are grateful for this generous donation from the Government of Spain which will support our work for another two months with the Western Saharan refugees who rely almost entirely on assistance from bilateral donors and the international community,” said Michelle Iseminger, Officer in Charge of WFP operations in Algeria.

“WFP has been doing its best to provide food assistance to thousands of refugees since early 2006, under an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,” she added.

Iseminger said the money has already been earmarked to purchase 3,412 metric tons of wheat flour and 300 tons of green lentils to distribute at refugee camps near the remote desert town of Tindouf. The food purchased with the Spanish donation is scheduled to arrive in Algiers in a couple of weeks, easing the pressure on WFP’s food assistance pipeline.

WFP assists the Western Saharan refugees in close cooperation with the Algerian Red Crescent which receives the food shipments in Algeria. WFP depends on the support of the Western Saharan Red Crescent (SRC) to ensure timely distribution of commodities and to avoid transport delays.

The Western Saharan refugees arrived in Algeria in 1975 after fleeing a territorial conflict. They settled in four temporary camps near Tindouf, where they endure harsh climatic conditions, isolation and a lack of economic opportunities.

The current three-year WFP operation started on September 2004. Donors include the European Commission (US$13 million), Spain (US$5 million), Switzerland (US$4 million), the United States (US$4 million), Canada (US$2 million), Finland (US$1.3 million), France (US$609,000), Austria (US$428,000), Ireland (US$368,000), Italy (US$255,000), Germany (US$237,000) and Japan (US$38,000). This is in addition to US$6.4 million in multilateral contributions and a donation of US$23,000 from the private sector.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency: on average, each year, we give food to 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 58 million hungry children, in 80 of the world’s poorest countries. WFP – We Feed People.  


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