PUSL.- Despite the extraordinary containment measures implemented by the Sahrawi authorities in the refugee camps, the coranavirus has managed to enter.
The threat of mass spread could cause a health catastrophe in a vulnerable population of more than 170,000 people.
The rates of preexisting health conditions in the camps is gravely concerning and could make this outbreak particularly dangerous. Fifty-two per cent of women living in the camps are anemic, over 11 per cent of adults have diabetes, and six per cent live with coeliac disease, the highest prevalence in the world.
Oxfam Country Director in Algeria, Haissam Minkara, said: “This is the news people here have been fearing. Sahrawi refugees have been displaced for 45 years in the harsh Algerian Sahara, where food and water are incredibly scarce and so many suffer from pre-existing vulnerabilities. The health infrastructure in the camps is too fragile to cope with the potential catastrophe that COVID-19 could bring.”
“The Sahrawi refugee crisis has been overlooked by the international community for over four decades and now the stakes couldn’t be higher. Organizations like Oxfam are mobilizing resources, but it will not be enough. The international community must support local authorities and agencies to deal with this outbreak or the outcome could be catastrophic,” said Mr. Minkara.
Despite the appearance of these cases, the prevention efforts of the Sahrawi health authorities are managing to register the lowest number of COVIDs 19 in the countries of the African Union.
According to Jira Bulai, Minister of Health, on Twitter, there are 4 confirmed cases, of which one has died. “Our situation of vulnerability forces us to redouble our efforts to continue our path” adds Jira Bulahi.
We are awaiting information to confirm the possible existence of more deceased.
En nuestra región los casos de #COVID siguen en aumento.
Rep. Saharaui 🇪🇭 4 ; 1 fallecido
Argelia 🇩🇿 26157; 1137 fallecidos
Marruecos 🇲🇦 19645; 305 fallecidos
Mauritania 🇲🇷 6116; 156 fallecidos
Túnez 🇹🇳 1443; 50 fallecidos
Libia 🇱🇾 2547; 58 fallecidos
Egipto 🇪🇬 91583; 4558 pic.twitter.com/8rPye1ckOX
— Jira Bulahi Bad (@JiraBad) July 26, 2020