Press "Enter" to skip to content

#StayInYourTent: COVID-19 protective Steps reach Sahara Desert

Faced with the spread of this novel coronavirus, citizens from all around the planet, even at the most distant places, are attempting to shield themselves.

The same as the rest of the Earth, the Sahrawi refugee camps, situated a couple of km from Tindouf, southern Algeria, are fighting against COVID-19.

Sahrawi refugees, who’ve been residing in the center of the Algerian desert for 45 decades, are confronting a new type of isolation amid this worldwide pandemic. Since they lack medical personnel and healthcare substance, any coronavirus instance reaching their communities may cause a catastrophe.

Movements between settlements, known as wilayas, are restricted in the vicinity of the camps.

The 16th edition of this Sahara International Film Festival, which intends to provide visibility to the battle through theatre, was postponed.

While countless people across the world have embraced the motto #StayAtHome, the Sahrawis employ their very own: #StayInYourTent.

Some rituals, such as tea-making, are preserved but held with extreme precautions: palms and eyeglasses are washed more frequently, although water is a rare commodity in the Saharan desert.

The Sahrawis know that after distancing measures is imperative to stop the overall look and multiplication of favorable coronavirus instances, in a spot with such basic infrastructure.

Abdala Banani Saaid, a Saharawi physician, advised Euronews that health employees have quite a few protective gear: only 600 pairs of gloves and 2,000 masks to get a population of between 180,000 and 200,000 individuals.

“Each of the physicians working overseas are assisting, but no gym is ready. The federal hospital doesn’t have respiratory gear”, Abdala said.

There haven’t been any reports of coronavirus instances from the Sahrawi refugee camps up to now.

Two suspects discovered have tested negative, which has been a relief to its people.

Abdala anxious cases may still admit themselves.

“Let us hope we do not receive any instance since we do not have anything,” he explained.

Confined for over four decades

Having lived in confinement for 45 decades, the Saharawi refugees know quite well what isolation from the external world seems like.

Many of these were forced to flee into the Algerian desert, in which they constructed one of the biggest and oldest refugee camps in the entire world.

Their everyday life is constructed from water and food shortages in addition to high temperatures. Faced with a wellness and financial catastrophe caused by the coronavirus pandemic, handling scarce resources are much more complex.

The cost of the number of products that may be bought in the camps has increased, affecting the most vulnerable households. Added to this scenario is that the fear of seeing additional decreased humanitarian aid, which is already cut in the last few decades.

The Sahrawi men and women say they fear the international organizations to which they’ve been exposed and whose direction they frequently criticize, may abandon them because of the outbreak.

Despite everything, they assert draw power by taking refuge inside their faith.

“We’re mindful that our methods are modest,” Salima, a young Saharawi, informed Euronews. “Our capacity to manage this virus is restricted, but our trust is in God… We’re a people of fighters, who’ve come from harder things, thus we’ll surely know how to escape this with the identical force.”

Saharawi families Once More separated

The so-called’Wall of Shame’ is a barrier constructed from the Moroccan Army that divides’inhabited’ Western Sahara out of free lands’.

On the opposite side of this wall, tens of thousands of Sahrawis are adapting, such as the remainder of citizens, into the avoidance measures exerted by the Kingdom of Morocco.

On the night of 20 March, Rabat imposed a nation of sanitary crises’ and limited the movement of individuals. Five days after, regardless of the ban, over 1,200 Moroccans abandoned town.

As of 9 April, Morocco has enrolled 1,346 coronavirus instances and 96 deaths are registered.

The Sahrawi facet, nevertheless, was ready to take confinement from the towns of inhabited Sahara, regardless of how a number have their loved ones and livestock in the desert as a result of their Bedouin tradition.

“The Moroccan police haven’t provided any way of transportation or opened the atmosphere boundary, because most nations have done,” he explained.

Since Mohamed Mayara, founder of the individual information portal Équipe Média, clarified to Euronews, “there’s absolute skepticism of the Moroccan regime” from the camps.

They generally denounce the discrimination that they suffer in the kind of running water reductions, phone surveillance, and even persecution, illegal detentions and torture.

After Spain withdrew from the land in 1975, Morocco and Mauritania split the area, and Mauritania abandoned the land four decades after.

At a health catastrophe of the grade,” the gaps between Moroccans and Sahrawis could expand,” Mohamed Mayara stated, mentioning the case of a young Saharawi, Hammadi El Kachel, used at a Moroccan company in the town of Esmara, that has reported that an incident of racial discrimination.

“When the firm released the list of beneficiaries of this coronavirus help, their title wasn’t contained,” Mayara clarified.

According to the organizer of Équipe Média, the so-called’separatists’ (Sahrawi pro-independence groups) and individual rights activists”can’t get health services, because Morocco believes that they have no appropriate provided that they continue to criticize the regime,” he explained.

Morocco’s health system is rated 89 at a listing of 93 nations, according to the global Numbeo database.

If the situation in Western Sahara worsens as a result of the worldwide crisis of this new coronavirus, there are real worries that the profound gap between Saharawis and Moroccans is further accentuated.

Their defeat could bring a new disaster on this severely fighting people.