Mauritania: Food and Nutritional Insecurity - Emergency Appeal n° MDRMR011

Originally published
View original


This Emergency Appeal seeks a total of some 1.1 Million Swiss francs to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Mauritania Red Crescent Society (MRC) to deliver food security assistance and malnutrition prevention support to 14,800 of people for 9 months in the departments of Barkéol and Ould Yenge, with a focus on the Livelihoods and Basic needs; Health (nutrition); Disaster risk reduction (DRR), Protection Gender and Inclusion (PGI), Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA); complemented by National Society strengthening activities.

The food insecurity situation in the targeted areas has been worsened by the effects of COVID-19 (closure of borders, regional transhumance, closure of markets, rise of food prices, etc.). Hence, this Emergency Appeal is launched to address the humanitarian needs and support recovery process. The planned phases of emergency response reflect the current situation and information available at this time of the evolving operation and will be adjusted based on further developments and more detailed assessments.

The disaster and the Red Cross Red Crescent response to date

  • October 2019: Drought and pastoralist crisis Alert (ACF: Action Contre la Faim/Action Against Hunger).

  • November 2019: positioning note (FSL WA Cluster); and Food security IPC results (Cadre Harmonisé)

  • December 2019: RC/RC awareness and positioning meeting in Dakar (lead by FIRC); Mauritania RC request for support.

  • January 2020: RC/RC Positioning note published (See link to the annex on page 17 of the EA).

  • February: Field Assessment in Mauritania, with the support of the IFRC, Livelihoods Centre; French RC and British RC. Report published in March 2020

  • April 2020: ACF “Alert on pastoral and Agropastoral crisis aggravated by COVID-19” Mauritania RC: Short & midterm Drought response Plan of Action

  • June 2020: lean season start. Start of the National Response Plan for food security.

  • July 2020: IFRC launches an Emergency Appeal for 1.1 Million Swiss francs for 14,800 people with a focus on food security assistance and malnutrition prevention. 200,000 Swiss francs allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).

Mauritania is currently facing a difficult food and nutritional situation which is like the one of 2018. According to the results of the last harmonized framework of November 2019, 609,184 persons are considered to be in severe food insecurity situation (IPC phases 3, 4) during the lean period between June and October 2020. This is the most serious situation witnessed in the country since the Harmonized Framework was organized/held in Mauritania (2012). In proportion to its population, Mauritania will be among the most affected countries in the Sahel, with a rate of 14.7% i.e. the highest rate all over the West African Region after Gambia.

According to information provided by Action Contre la Faim (ACF) and the Food and Nutrition Security Working Group (FSNGW), the biomass production observed in late August 2019 was at its lowest level never recorded since 1998. The situation slightly improved after the late rains and reached levels which were similar to those recorded in 2011 which were nonetheless very worrying. Most affected regions are located in Gorgol, Guidimaka, Brakna, Trarza, Assaba, Hodh El Gharbi.

Mauritania is exposed to recurrent cycles of drought, resulting in the degradation of natural resources and structurally affecting reproductive capacity, resilience and food security of the population. In 2019, Mauritania's southern agropastoral regions experienced for the third consecutive year drought-like conditions, putting additional hardship on already impoverished communities.

In addition, only 22.4% of population (137,000 out of 609,180 people) in food insecurity is being covered by WFP, STC, ACF, OXFAM. This left a huge gap in humanitarian response to address immediate needs.

To an already difficult situation which is characterized by recurrent cycles of rainfall deficit are added the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and mitigation measures taken by the Government, in order to prevent its spread, such as closure of borders, movement restrictions between regions or the closure of weekly markets. All these measures are impacting on already food-insecure people in the intervention area1 , either in food access (due to rising basic grain prices2 ) or in their livelihoods and income sources (for both pastoral and agricultural households due to limited inter-regional transhumance, the rising of prices or the unavailability of agricultural inputs, as well as for households relaying on weekly markets and on cross-border trade or on seasonal migration).