Mauritania: Appeal No. 05AA030 Annual Report


In Brief
Appeal target: CHF 446,000 (USD 363,000 or EUR 284,000);

Appeal coverage: 8.4%.

Annual Appeal:

Programme Update no. 1:

This Annual Report reflects activities implemented over a one-year period; they form part of, and are based on, longer-term, multi-year planning.

Operational context

Mauritania is a country that is subject to permanent natural disasters. The droughts of 1970s and 1980s transformed more than 150,000 square kilometres into a desert, which caused an exodus of population towards the south. Apart from the Senegal River, surface water is rare. In the last three decades, the water crisis has worsened. This has negatively impacted human and animal populations as well as agriculture thus causing food insecurity, damage to infrastructures caused by advancing sands as well as health problems. During the rainy season, the drought stricken lands are quickly submerged in floods. These climactic conditions have caused to urban migration resulting to a 53% increase of the urban population. Many squatter settlements have sprung up around cities as former rural families seek shelter, food, work and health care in these areas.

Approximately one-quarter of Mauritania's population is nomadic; more than three-quarters live by traditional subsistence activities, particularly animal husbandry. It is difficult to access most of the population as the country is huge and the roads are in poor condition, making interventions relatively expensive and difficult.

Health indicators are slowly improving. The mortality rate for the children aged under five years was 183 per 1,000 live births in 2002, down from 250 in 1970. However, only one-third of the population has access to potable water and adequate sanitation facilities. In 2001, the public health expenditure was only 2.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Owing to people's reluctance to come forward for HIV/AIDS testing and the lack of testing facilities, official estimates show that 1.1% of the population is HIV positive; the actual rate could be higher. Several religious leaders have spoken openly in favour of HIV/AIDS prevention thus, by helping to overcome religious obstacles in prevention programmes.

The 2004-2005 harvest in the Sahel region was seriously affected by the worst locust invasion in twenty years, compounded by low rainfalls. Crops were greatly reduced, as was the availability of grazing land in pastoralist areas. This resulted in serious food insecurity in Mauritania as well as the other countries in the Sahel region. The 'lean' period, which occurs between April and October - when the harvest from the previous year has been exhausted and the current year's production is not yet ready - is always difficult in the Sahel region, and proved particularly lengthy over 2005, partly contributing to the food security crisis.

In response to the food insecurity situation in the Sahel, the International Federation launched an Emergency Appeal on 22 July 2005, for CHF 18,243,483, to assist 44,400 families (some 220,000 beneficiaries) in four countries, including Mauritania: refer to While a proposal was developed by a Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) health member temporarily based in Mauritania, it was determined that the Federation lacked financial and human resources to undertake food assistance activities in the country. Federation assistance to Mauritania was thus limited to funding for a cholera response programme.

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation's website at

For further information specifically related to this Annual Appeal please contact:

- In Mauritania: Mohamedou Ould Raby, Secretary General, Mauritanian Red Crescent, Nouakchott; Email: ; Phone +222.525.12.49; Fax + 222.529.12.2

- In Senegal: Alasan Senghore, Federation Head of West and Central Africa Regional Delegation, Dakar; Email:; Phone +221.869.36.41; Fax +221. 860.20.02.

- In Geneva: Madeleine Lundberg, Federation Regional Officer for West and Central Africa, Africa Dept.; Emai:l; Phone +41.22.730.4.35; Fax +41.22.733.0 3.95

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