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How empty water bottles are helping Western Sahara refugees beat desert heat

Energy expert Tatah Lehbib is putting his college education to use at home, combining old and new building methods and materials to improve housing conditions for refugees in Algeria.

TINDOUF, Algeria — For 40 years, the harsh Hamada desert in southwest Algeria has punished Western Sahara refugees with its merciless environment. One man thinks it's finally possible to change that situation.

There is little available in the camps from which to build durable shelter; adobe houses and tents are all the refugees have been able to erect. But Tatah Lehbib is demonstrating what he says is a viable alternative that is stronger and more affordable than mud bricks.

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