Indian newspaper "The Times of India" has slammed the blackout imposed by polisario and Algeria on the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the Tindouf camps.
In an article published Thursday, the publication underlines that the situation in the Tindouf Camps is "extremely vulnerable", noting that the camps "could become a major Covid-19 hotspot".
A major concern with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic in North Africa is the situation in the Tindouf camps, it said, adding that these camps which are controlled by the polisario "reportedly have deplorable sanitation and health conditions with inmates lacking access to basics."
In fact, "even earlier this year in February, Sahrawis at the camps were protesting restrictions to their freedom of movement," the paper pointed out, adding that according to reports, "the camps are totally unprepared to deal with the coronavirus pandemic."
Quoting Oxfam International’s report issued last month, the publication notes that the population held in Tindouf "is chronically vulnerable, and healthcare centers in the camps have no ventilators and are not equipped to deal with the consequences of a Covid-19 spread."
“Within the camps, health centers are already experiencing a shortage of beds, medical supplies, protective equipment for medical staff, and hygiene products," it said, adding that there is not a single ventilator in the camps.
"Considering the close quarters in which many refugees live and the widespread prevalence of existing health conditions, including acute malnutrition, stunting, diabetes, and anemia, and one of the highest prevalence of coeliac disease in the world, the risk of an outbreak is incredibly high and could be potentially devastating.”
These populations "definitely need help and humanitarian assistance", the source said, adding that "their deplorable situation has been created by Algeria and the Polisario leadership."