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Heavy rains wash away homes and hope for Western Sahara refugees

TINDOUF, Algeria – Heavy rains have been pounding much of North Africa and Middle East, bringing destruction in their wake and causing heavy flooding, but the torrential downpours have taken a particularly heavy toll on the vulnerable refugee community in Algeria’s Tindouf province. “I’m just grateful for the safety of my children,” Fatima Omar says as she stands, still in shock, outside of her now destroyed mud-brick house in Smara Refugee Camp in Algeria’s Tindouf province.
“The rain started early last week, it was just the usual light rain that we have from time to time,” Omar told Middle East Eye. “But last Thursday evening it suddenly started to get harder, the house started leaking. By three in the morning I started to hear the loud sound of collapsing bricks.”
Smara Refugee Camp, is one of several refugee camps in Algeria’s Tindouf province. The province houses more than 165,000 Western Sahrawi refugees, of which 90,000 are under direct UNHCR care.
During the Western Sahara War of…

Christopher Ross in flood-hit Sahrawi camps to measure extent of damage

UN personal envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, visited the Saharawi refugee camps, which houses and properties were damaged by floods in recent days, reported the Sahrawi news agency (SPS) Sunday.
According to the same source, the visit paid the day before to the provinces of Boudjedour, Smara and Aousserd, allowed the UN envoy to inquire about the extent of damage of houses and properties of Sahrawi refugees and the need to send urgent humanitarian aid to protect the refugees against cold and hunger, especially after the breakdown of food stocks, waiting for a political solution to end the suffering of the Sahrawi people.
In addition, Ross met with Sahrawi Minister of Interior Hamma Salama, to inquire about the damage of this natural disaster, before meeting Sunday with the Sahrawi delegation to the negotiations which will remind the UN envoy of the requests of the African Union and the Sahrawis to the international community to "set a date for the holding of a self-d…

Floods leave considerable damage in the wilaya of Dajla

The wilaya of Daila, in the Saharawi refugee camps, was hit by heavy rains since Monday, leaving considerable damage. Sources to SPS from Dajla that "heavy floods have destroyed several public buildings and community centers, and have destroyed several homes of refugees, no victims are reported so far."
In this respect, the Saharawi Red Crescent (SRC), with the help of various humanitarian agencies operating in the Saharawi refugee camps, had dispatched a team to assess the extent of damage on the ground and take the necessary measures to alleviate the damages.





Heavy rain leaves families without shelter in refugee camps

Dozens of families were left without shelter due to fall Friday to Saturday of heavy rain in Sahrawi refugee camps, causing massive damage at level of the wilayas and institutions. 

The rain which continued two days and expected to continue, depending on the weather, have led to the collapse of houses and tents in all wilayas particularly in the Wilaya of Awserd.
The rains that continued two days and can continue, depending on weather conditions, led to the collapse of several houses and tents of the Sahrawi refugees in the different provinces and especially the province Aousserd.
The Sahrawi refugees have lived in exile in houses made of mud for more than 40 years due to the illegal occupuation of their country Western Sahara by Morocco, it should be recalled.
A full assessment of the damage will be made public in the
next few hours. (SPS)

Yahoo to launch mobile website in Arabic for Middle East

Yahoo is set to launch a mobile website in Arabic tailor-made for the Middle East in June, thus looking to exploit the region’s booming smartphone market, according to reports. Internet users in the Arab world who currently browse Yahoo are redirected to US or UK mobile sites. However, with the new localized front page, Middle East content – such as text or video based news, entertainment and sport – will be presented in Arabic as well as English and supported locally.

“Via mobile devices, our users will be able to connect to the latest news and sports … from the UAE or Egypt or Saudi, with relevant content,” Ahmed Nassef, the Vice President and Managing Director of Yahoo Middle East told reporters.

“This is going to be much more relevant to what people here are looking for,” added Mr Nassef.

The move follows the acquisition of Middle East web portal Maktoob in 2009 by Yahoo, in order to ensure more localized web content on its internet site. The purchase, which cost US$164 million, has …