Nutrition crisis in the Saharawi refugee camps
630d1442844d6_Side 8 - UNHCR

As a consequence of the increased global food prices, a nutrition crisis is already developing among Saharawi children in Algeria. 

Published 30 August 2022

Photo: Mali Røsseth

On 24 August, three UN bodies called on the international community for increased humanitarian assistance to the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria. The trio paint a critical picture of the situation:  

  • Food rations are cut by 75 percent.
  • Funds required for food assistance alone doubled to US$39 million this year compared to $19.8 million before the pandemic hit.
  • Each beneficiary now receives less than 5kg ration compared to the planned 17kg per person per month.
  • Each recipient now receives less than half of recommended daily intake of calories.
  • monthly rations is particularly concerning as it is less than half of the recommended daily intake of calories.

“This has deeply affected all sectors of humanitarian support", says the local UN coordinator Alejandro Alvarez. He expresses that the lack of funding “is worryingly hindering refugees’ access to food, water, health, nutrition, education and other essential livelihood services”.

The crisis comes on top of a very worrisome nutrition situation that has been developed over the last years.  

Preliminary results of a nutrition survey carried out six months ago revealed “a deteriorating nutrition situation and an increasing prevalence of life-threatening wasting among children aged 6-59 months from 7.6% in 2019 to 10.7% in 2022. Half of the children aged 6-59 months are anemic, one in three children are stunted and only one in three children received the minimum diverse diet they needed to grow and develop healthily." 

The UN bodies call on the international community to increase the financial support to meet the crisis. The statement came from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNICEF and World Food Programme, all running aid programmes in the refugee camps. 

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