UN: UNHCR delivers aid to flood-hit refugees in Algeria's Tindouf region

New York, US (PANA) - Following heavy which resulted in devastating floods rains in southwestern Algeria last week, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has airlifted emergency aid to 11,000 families living in five camps in the region.

A UNHCR official, Mr. Hamdi Bukhari, in a statement Friday said: "The extent of devastation
in Tindouf is overwhelming, with pooled water as far as the eye can see. Thousands
of families lost their homes overnight and much of their personal belongings.

"The airlifted relief items will partially compensate their losses, but rebuilding their
lives will be an extraordinary task, and UNHCR stands ready to support this effort,
and shelter, food and water are the most urgent needs."

He noted that the seasonal storms damaged or destroyed mud-brick homes, shops,
hospitals, schools, and roads at Laayoune, Boujdour, Awserd, Smara, and Dakhla
camps, housing thousands of Sahrawi refugees.

According to the official, the first of two aircraft from Accra, Ghana, brought 5,000
fleece blankets, 1,000 kitchen sets, 1,000 jerry cans, 5,000 plastic sheets, 750 family
tents, and 200 plastic rolls to distribute to as many as 11,000 people, with a second
aid flight due to arrive on Friday.

Mr. Bukhari said UNHCR was leading the emergency response, with support from
the Algerian government, other UN agencies and partners on the ground.

The agency was leading a shelter assessment to determine the number of damaged
houses that will need immediate rehabilitation before the arrival of winter.

This month marked the 40th anniversary of the Sahrawis being sheltered in the
camps near Tindouf, since they fled the territory of Western Sahara in 1975, making
it one of the most protracted refugee situations in the world.

Prior to the flooding, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations active in the
Tindouf Sahrawi refugee operation were facing funding shortfalls that restricted
their regular activities, including provision of food aid.

UNHCR, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the World Food Programme
this week made a joint appeal for US$20 million to respond to the crisis.
-0-   PANA   AA/AR  30Oct2015

30 october 2015 18:46:44

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