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Italy and WFP provide vital support to refugees from western Sahara in Algeria

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ALGIERS – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of €500,000 (US$ 570,000) from the Government of Italy to provide life-saving assistance for Western Saharan refugees in Algeria.

The Italian contribution allows WFP to cover the basic food needs of thousands of Sahrawi refugee families; providing them with a monthly food ration that includes cereals (rice, barley and wheat flour), pulses, vegetable oil, sugar and fortified blended foods.

WFP will use part of the contribution for its school feeding programme which aims to encourage around 40,000 children in camp schools and kindergartens to enroll and attend class regularly. Each child receives a mid-morning snack that includes nutritious biscuits and milk to stave off the hunger that affects children’s ability to concentrate during the day.

“The timing of this contribution is extremely opportune to cover urgent needs at the beginning of the year,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Algeria Imed Khanfir. “WFP is very grateful to the people and government of Italy for their continued support that allows us to assist thousands of Sahrawi refugee men, women and children.”

Italy has been an important partner to WFP Algeria, providing a total of around US$2.5 million over the past five years.

“The Italian Cooperation is strongly committed to humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable populations in the world, with the aim of contributing to meeting their basic needs, such as access to food and water.”, affirmed Pasquale Ferrara, Ambassador of Italy in Algeria. “This is why we have confirmed our annual contribution to WFP – as well as UNICEF – in support of their remarkable activities targeting Sahrawi refugees in Tindouf. We warmly thank WFP and all the International Organizations as well as NGOs which operate with commitment and humanity in the camps. We hope to further strengthen our cooperation with WFP in order to improve the living conditions of the refugees, especially the young generation”.

For more than 40 years, the Sahrawi have been living under extremely harsh conditions in the Sahara Desert in southwestern Algeria. Hosted in five refugee camps, near the Algerian town of Tindouf, refugee families rely primarily on WFP assistance for their food needs as employment and livelihood opportunities are limited.

WFP has been supporting refugees from Western Sahara in Algeria since 1986. WFP operations in Algeria are carried out and monitored in collaboration with national and international organizations to ensure food assistance reaches the people for whom it is intended.

Contact

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Katharina Meyerseipp
WFP/Algiers, Mob. +213 661984724

Abeer Etefa
WFP/Cairo, Tel. +2010 66634352