Stepping up to the plate: Algeria continues to work with refugees from Niger
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Winter arrives at an extremely inopportune time for Niger migrants taking shelter in Algeria. High winds and freezing weather is having its effect in hastily constructed refugee camps here. Many migrants lack winter clothing and shelter. Algeria is doing what it can do to help, through government organizations and charities, but the sobering fact remains that thousands of these people will have to be turned away.
High winds and freezing weather is having its effect in hastily constructed Niger refugee camps in Algeria.
ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) - Hunger is also taking its toll in local refugee camps.
The Algerian government is prepared to grant some refugees a residence permit and a work contract. Despite these efforts, there will be more than two thousands to be sent home. The majority of refugees here are women and children living in an irregular situation. According to the Algerian Red Crescent, the majority of those to be turned away will be at the city of Tamanrasset, 2,000 kilometers in southern Algiers. From there, the first wave will be extending directly to Niger.
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Algeria is doing what it can do to help, through government organizations and charities, but the sobering fact remains that thousands of these people will have to be turned away.
"Our situation is getting worse, mainly during this winter but we must never give up as our country becomes a mess. I understand that our massive presence in Algeria is likely to create a sort of social instability but we do not have other choice than to continue our adventure," Mamadou Boubacar, one of the sub-Saharan migrants in Algiers says.
According to various studies of humanitarian organizations, there are 30,000 illegal sub-Saharan migrants living in Algeria. Migrants coming from Syria are also part of the country's load.
Since last year, the number of Syrian refugees living in Algeria has increased to include 15,000 expatriates. This number is increasing steadily and it could attain 25,000, local authorities say.
The migrants are spread across different provinces of the country but the majority chose to settle in the eastern region of Tizi-Ouzou. The local population and humanitarian organizations are doing their best to assist these migrants, but it remains insufficient in terms of their number and their increasing needs mainly during these freezing days.
"We have to do our best as Muslims to help these illegal migrants to face the bad weather and the freezing temperature. We provide them all what we can as blankets, clothes some meals but it remains honestly insufficient as their number is increasing steadily. We are really very sad when we witness such a degradable situation without being able to remove them from this misery." one old woman said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Algerian authorities are facing difficulties to deal with such a phenomenon.
Part of migrants use fake Malian passports, since agreements on free movement between Algeria and Mali for periods of 90 days. Security sources revealed that 70 percent of these migrants are now settling the country. Since the outbreak of the conflict in Mali, in early January 2012, a part of the population took refuge in Algeria. In Niger, extreme poverty and food insecurity cause mass exodus of entire families. But with the decrease of oil price in the international market, Algerian government is facing some financial difficulties to complete the launched projects.
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