According to the United States Department of State’s recent estimates, 100,000 Sahrawis live in Tindouf. This number comes as the Security Council has urged the UN for years to conduct a population census in the camps.
100,000 Sahrawis live in the Tindouf camps, according to the recent estimates published by the United States Department of State. The information was made public as the United States is expected to pass its federal budget fiscal year 2019, which might remove the Sahara from the list of regions that benefit from the USAID program.
«Humanitarian assistance has helped meet the basic needs of more than 100,000 Sahrawis living in refugee camps located in the desert near Tindouf», wrote the US Department of State in one of its documents.
The number of inhabitants living in the Tindouf camps mentioned by the Department of State is different from the one brought by the Kingdom, which insists that only 40,000 Sahrawi refugees live in the Algerian region.
Moreover, US estimates differ from the number adopted by the European Union (90,000) which allocates humanitarian assistance to Sahrawis living on the Algerian territory.
$8.5 million in U.S. humanitarian assistance
Between 2017 and 2018, Washington has been very generous with the Polisario. «Since last year, more than $8.5 million in U.S. humanitarian assistance was designated for the Sahrawi refugees», said the US embassy in Algiers in a press release published on April the 1st, 2018.
In 2016, and following the floods that hit the «Dakhla camp» in October 2015, the Obama administration granted $4 million to the Polisario to overcome the natural disaster.
This was followed by the visit of the US ambassador Joan A. Polaschik to Algeria. The latter went to the camps in February 2016. The same communiqué reports that the current US ambassador to Algiers paid a «two-day visit to Tindouf on March 27-29 (2018) to see the humanitarian situation in the Sahrawi refugee camps».
For the record, Morocco has been urging the UN to conduct a population census in the Tindouf camps for years. Since 2011, the Security Council resolutions on Western Sahara has invited the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to conduct the census. These calls were met with Algeria’s rejection.
In 2016, Algeria has even managed to convince the US House of representatives into removing a provision from the fiscal year 2017, calling for a population census in the camps.