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90,000 refugees in Algeria affected by torrential rains: UN

Torrential rains and heavy flooding have damaged five camps housing some 90,000 Sahrawi refugees in western Algeria, the UN’s refugee agency said on Friday.

The camps are located in the Tindouf region close to the border with Morocco and Western Sahara.

So far, UNHCR and its partners have begun providing assistance to around 25,000 people, whose homes and food supplies were destroyed by flooding.

But with the rains expected to last until Sunday, the agency has warned the number of people needing aid could rise.

Along with the Algerian government and other organisations like the World Food Programme and the UN children’s agency, UNHCR is providing the refugees with food and drinking water.

The agency is also planning to build makeshift shelters.

Sahrawi refugees have been living in the region since the mid-1970s after Spain withdrew from the area and fighting broke out.

While the Sahara gets very little rain year-round, when it does rain it can be disastrous for the local communities.