The Mauritanian government made an official appeal for aid on Sunday, September 1. Citing the late start of the rainy season, the Minister of the Interior spoke of the insufficient rainfall, which has aggravated an already precarious food situation in rural areas.
The government reports that 9 out of 13 regions in Mauritania are seriously affected. They have requested emergency food aid in the form of 37,000 tons of cereals and 14,000 tons of complementary products to be distributed over a three-month period to the affected population.
World Vision Mauritania country director, Charles Ossey, asserts, "The government's declaration is in line with the information we have been gathering and reporting from the zones where we work. Given the government's request and based on the WFP ration scale for general distribution, we estimate that the population affected is just over 800,000 people."
World Vision Mauritania has 7 ADPs and one project in three of the agro-pastoral regions, which are hard-hit, with 4,600 CIPs and a combined target population of 270,000 people.
Ossey continues, "To state the obvious, the situation we are faced with today is dire. Yesterday, Moctar Diallo, the chief of a village in Blajmil, articulated the difference between this year and past drought years, 'Before, when the animals died we were able to do a little agriculture and live. This year the animals are dying; we had no harvest last year and no crops this year. The people are becoming weak. We have no food, no milk and no money, because the animals that we have are of no value.'"
"In short", Ossey adds, we recognize that we have both the responsibility and the privilege of responding to this emergency." As such, World Vision Mauritania has declared a Category 1 Emergency. They have already begun to act in the Assaba and Tagant regions to set up cereal banks and to provide seeds for rapid-maturing sorghum, beans and seed potatoes for farmers with access to dams.
World Vision Mauritania is working in conjunction with other NGOs to develop a plan of action in collaboration with the government to provide immediate relief.