Caught in the cross-fire of the conflict opposing Morocco and the Polisario Front over the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara since 1976, tens of thousands Sahrawian refugees have been living in the Algerian region of Tindouf for over 35 years. They are settled in five camps in the area, despite its harsh climate and very limited access to basic resources.
Since 1993 the European Commission has helped to meet their basic needs in food, water, housing and medical care contributing around € 200 million.
In 2012, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department allocated €10 million to improve the living conditions of the refugees. The bulk of the funds are spent on food aid and ensuring access to safe water. Hygiene products and hygiene awareness campaigns to reduce the risk of diseases, the provision of essential medicines and improved sanitation in schools are also funded by ECHO. Monitoring of food distributions and improvement of the security environment in which our partners operate are another important element of the aid. ECHO also contributes to the provision of materials for tents.