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Brussels, 10 August 2005

Commission allocates €9.3 million to aid Sahrawi refugees

The European Commission has adopted a further decision, worth
€9.3 million, to assist Sahrawi refugees in south-west Algeria by improving living conditions and, specifically, food security. Financing will be provided via ECHO, the Commission’s humanitarian aid service, under the responsibility of Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel.

The Sahrawi refugees have been living in four camps surrounding Tindouf in south-west Algeria for several decades and depend on international aid for their survival, the European Union being the largest donor. As a result of today’s decision, projects will be funded in the following areas:

Food sector

Refugees will continue to receive 2 100 Kcal per person per day thanks to the replenishing of the buffer stock set up by the Commission and managed by the World Food Programme since 2002. The diversity of the food basket will be ensured, in particular by the supply of fresh products, including over Ramadan. The financing of poultry feed will make it possible to increase egg production for the whole of the refugee population, thus providing essential proteins. A pilot project for livestock farming and a bread and pastry-making project are also planned. These projects, whose primary objective is to provide employment, will generate income and contribute to efforts to ensure quality food intake for the refugees.

Water and sanitation, health, education, protection

The health situation should be significantly improved by an improved water supply for the camps of Aïun and Auserd; health education; the supply of consumables (syringes, bandages, etc.) to hospitals; proper storage conditions for medicine; distribution of hygiene kits and more effective management of household refuse.

Plans are also being made to create conditions more favourable to children’s education, in particular by renovating and equipping schools and supplying materials.

Since 1993, the Commission has provided more than €108 million in aid to the Sahrawi refugees, elegant testimony to the EU’s attention to this still forgotten crisis.

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