Mauritania: Drought - May 2018

Past disaster

Disaster description

Mauritania is currently facing a very serious food and nutrition insecurity situation, the worst that the country has seen in the last five years. According to the results of the latest Harmonized Framework (HF) of March 2018, 350,600 people are currently in severe food insecurity (phase 3, 4) and these figures could reach 538,446 people for the projected period of June to August 2018. These projections for the period of June-August correspond to 14 percent of the population, raising fears of a food crisis comparable to that of 2011-2012. This is the worst situation since the Harmonized Framework analyses are done in the country. (IFRC, 24 May 2018)

Assistance programs run by [WFP], [FAO], [UNICEF] and NGOs are under way in parts of certain livelihood zones. They involve free distributions of food and livestock feed as well as cash transfers and nutrition support for malnourished children and breastfeeding or pregnant women. However, they are still inadequate to meet the needs reported by humanitarian workers. (FEWS, 10 Jul 2018)

According to the March 2018 ‘’Cadre Harmonisé’’ analysis, about 350 000 people were estimated to be food insecure between March and May 2018 compared to 379 000 people in October-December 2017. However, this number is projected to increase to 538 000 during the June to August period, if mitigation measures are not taken. (FAO, 2 Aug 2018)

As of 15 August, water supply in Mbera camp is still highly dependent on humanitarian assistance. An initial investment is needed to ensure a smooth transition from emergency to more durable and sustainable water systems in Mbera camp and its surroundings. These investments are crucial given the current drought risk. (UNHCR, 15 Aug 2018)

Harvesting activities for irrigated rice, maize, millet and sorghum crops have almost finalized, while harvesting of low lying area crops will start in late January and will be completed by end-February. Due to favourable rainfall conditions and timely provision of inputs by the Government, the 2018 national cereal production is estimated at about 338 000 tonnes, about 13 percent above the previous year’s output and 5 percent above the average of the last five years. Pasture development conditions are generally good in the agro-pastoral zone. However, the overall fodder balance gives a supply of 3 million tonnes of dry matter against the 8 million tonnes estimated for the theoretical total needs of the resident livestock, leaving an overall forage deficit of about 5 million tonnes. The pastoral lean season is expected to be harsh and it is likely to start in February-March, about two months earlier than usual. This may affect animal’s body conditions, worsening animal-to-cereals terms of trade for pastoralists. Currently, the animal health situation is generally stable, with no major disease outbreaks reported. (FAO GIEWS, 18 Jan 201918)

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