Algiers — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a contribution of CHF 1.8 million (US$ 1.9 million) from the Government of Switzerland that will help cover the basic food needs of thousands of Sahrawi refugee families and support WFP's school feeding programme.
For the past 45 years, the Sahrawi refugees have been living under 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, while employment and livelihood opportunities are limited.
"Sahrawis are even more dependent on food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic to make ends meet and the contribution from Switzerland arrives in time to allow WFP to purchase and transport food to the camps so that life-saving food assistance can continue in the coming months," said WFP Representative and Country Director in Algeria Imed Khanfir. "WFP is very grateful to the people and Government of Switzerland for their continued support to our operation in the Tindouf refugee camps".
Switzerland has been a key donor to WFP Algeria by contributing USD 30.6 million over the last 15 years.
In 2020, WFP will use the Swiss funds to distribute monthly food rations that include cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, sugar and fortified blended foods to thousands of refugee men, women and children to cover their basic food needs.
A part of the Swiss contribution will also support WFP's school feeding programme to encourage around 40,000 children to attend camp schools and kindergartens. While all educational institutions are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swiss contribution will help encourage children to return to their studies by providing a mid-morning snack (nutritious biscuits and milk) once schools are open again.
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.