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From the land of thirst: supporting Mauritanian families in the Sahara

Hassi Laetach, in southern Mauritania, is a village of some 85 households. Its name literally translates as “those who are thirsty” in the local language, Hassania which says a lot about life on this stretch of Mauritania’s Sahara desert.

Mauritania is one of the world’s poorest countries. Poor rainfall in recent years has been a huge setback for local communities that rely on farming and livestock herding: about 2.3 million people are at risk of food shortages, and many require humanitarian assistance to survive. Children affected by food shortages are particularly at risk of stunted development.

Through its humanitarian funding, the EU supports organisations that help Hassi Laetach’s poorest households survive the 4 crucial months between the spring and winter harvests – the so-called “lean season”, when food reserves run low.

Rather than depend on direct food aid, targeted, vulnerable households receive some cash assistance, as well as some food and household items, to be able to feed and sustain their family.

In 2019, €11.15 million in EU humanitarian assistance will address the food and nutrition crises, as well as providing support to refugees in Mauritania.

Text and Photos: © 2019 European Union (photographer: Xaume OLLEROS)

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