New York

02 June 2017

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the situation of Sahrawi refugees in Algeria

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned over the plight of tens of thousands of Sahrawi refugees in Algeria, who will have their food rations cut due to lack of funding.

Humanitarian aid, including food aid, is a lifeline for these refugees from Western Sahara. A recent survey highlighted the precarious nutrition situation in the Sahrawi refugee camps and the refugees' limited access to markets or livelihoods.

A lack of funding has forced the World Food Programme (WFP) to cut food rations by almost one fifth this year, and to halt distributions of nutritional supplements to treat anaemia and malnutrition in pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children. Food rations will be further reduced to half in June, which could have a severe impact on the refugees' food security and nutritional status.

The Secretary-General calls on donors to urgently increase their assistance to this often overlooked and vulnerable population. WFP requires US$7.9 million to continue providing vital food assistance over the next six months.