What are the needs?
Bridging the Arab Maghreb and the Sahel region, Mauritania is one of the world’s poorest countries and lies nearly entirely within the Sahara. A large part of its mostly nomadic population is chronically food insecure, a situation which was aggravated by a 40% drop in agricultural production in 2011.
Many Mauritanians are struggling to recover from this crisis which eroded their livelihoods and resilience. Since 2008, the number of food insecure people in the country continues to rise steadily while the nutrition situation continues to deteriorate. Acute malnutrition rates are above emergency thresholds in a majority of regions and 125 000 children are expected to suffer from this form of malnutrition in 2014. 470 000 people will also be at risk of food insecurity.
With 60 000 people, Mauritania hosts the highest number of Malian refugees among countries in the region. Malnutrition and anemia among the refugee children in M’bera camp continue to be reason for concern.
How are we helping?
The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has drastically stepped up support to programmes in Mauritania in recent years. EU funds support life-saving assistance and emergency safety nets such as cash transfers to the poorest families to prevent them from going hungry and having to sell their remaining assets.
ECHO also funds and promotes a methodology to better target the poorest families in countries of the Sahel. Through direct involvement of the concerned communities, this so-called Household Economy Analysis offers a better understanding of who is most vulnerable to food insecurity which in turn allows for a better targeting of aid in case of shocks such as drought or a rise in food prices.
Assistance to Malian refugees in M’bera camp is maintained with an emphasis on efforts to improve the nutrition, food, water and sanitation conditions in the camp and ensure a minimum package of aid to all refugees, without discrimination.