79,5 million people, 1% of the world’s population, have been forced to flee their homes. They may have survived a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a flood, be trapped in a war zone or be fleeing from armed conflict. Millions of people worldwide urgently need water, food, medicine, shelter or psychosocial support.
Via the programmes Dutch Surge Support (DSS) water and DSS Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), the Dutch government supports humanitarian organisations. It does this by deploying experts in the field of water resources management, WASH, mental health and other areas of expertise.
Today, on World Refugee Day, we think of the nearly 80 million people worldwide who are looking for safety either somewhere within their country or in another country.
Algeria: A forgotten crisis
More than two-thirds of the world’s refugees come from 5 countries. These are Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar. But there are many other countries not as well-known for their refugees. One of these forgotten countries is Algeria. For over 40 years, more than 150,000 people have been living in the Sahara without a passport or home. They are in desperate need of drinking water, among other basic needs.
During the first months of 2020, DSS water expert Jaime Corbí from The Hague was deployed to the Saharawi refugee camp in the South-West of Algeria. There, he reviewed the current water distribution system. His task was to propose improvements and make designs for a pipeline water network to supply water to the camp.
“It is not enough to connect some pipes to water tanks. You need to study the extreme conditions, the needs and culture of the people, and to listen to their words and opinions. Once you have this information, you can design a network that will supply water to more than 150,000 forgotten people.”
Together with humanitarian organisations, DSS water and DSS MHPSS can make a difference! Not only in Algeria, but in many other countries that are hosting millions of people who have had to flee their homes.