Refugee camps in Western Sahara

In the refugee camps there were 165 thousand people. Every month they would get beans, rice and drink tea everyday. Every year the amount of people in the camps decreased. Norway gave 5 million kr to the camps, and they gave people access to education. All kids in the camps got oppurtunities to go to school. When the kids were done with primary school when they were 13 years old they had to move to the north. it would be a three day journey in the desert, until they arrived to the new school. They could only spend 2 months with their family in the in the year, and everyother day they spent it in school. Several thousand children from the camps have received university educations in Cuba. The problem is that young people are losing faith in education, because they know in the end that they will end up in the refugee camps, because of political reasons.

Since the refugee camps are in the desert, they refugees are forced to rely on the international humanitarian assistance for their survival. The food and other supplies would get destroyed by the floods. The refugee camps are governed by Polisario, being administratively part of the Sahrawi Arab Democretic Republic. The camps have 27 clinics, a central hospital and four regional hospitals. Only a few of the camps have access to water, and the drinking sources are neither clean nor sufficient for the entire refugee population. Food, drinking water, building materials and clothing are brought in by international aid agencies. The refugee population dont get enough vegetables, nutritious food and medicines in their system. 40% of the children and 47% of women suffer from lack of iron, and 10% of the children below five years of age suffer from acute lack of nutrition. 32% are suffering from chronic lack of nutrition.

Thousands of families have been separated for up to 30 years, a painful situation for the population in both Western Sahara and the refugee camps. Reports of beatings and torture, in many cases leading to death of Moroccan prisoners of war happened when they lived in the camps. Normally it doesn’t happen much in the camps, because the Sahrawi refugee camps is one of the few camps that have good conditions, since they give children opportunities to get an education and the refugees get free food, drink and clothes.

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