Mauritania: Food Security Crisis - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) n° MDRMR008

A. Analysis of the situation

Description of the disaster

In Mauritania, the 2016/2017 rain season was characterized by more than 58% of the rainfall stations which recorded a cumulative rainfall deficit compared to last year. Rainfall deficits exceeding 100 mm have been recorded in several Wilayas in the south of the country, notably at the level of the two Hodhs, in Assaba, in Brakna, in Gorgol, in Trarza and in Guidimagha. That situation greatly affected the situation of crops, particularly rain-fed crops, which in most areas have produced a low or non-existent level of production.

Gross national cereal production in 2016-2017 is calculated 281,216 tonnes, compared to 312,119 tonnes for the average of the last 5 years and 338,394 tonnes for 2015-2016; A decrease of 10% and 17% respectively.

That drop in agricultural production had an impact on rural populations, particularly in rain-fed areas (along the border strip) and in the traditional areas of Aftout where the highest rates of food insecurity were recorded during that period. Thus, the vulnerable households experienced a decline in their income from agricultural activities, either in terms of self-consumption (cereals) or in terms of income from sales or rural work. In urban areas, the food situation remains stable in general, with a food insecurity rate of less than 20%. However, the peripheral areas of Nouakchott, due to the high density of the population, remain in terms of numbers, the main concentration zone of food insecure populations.

In Mauritania, the prevalence of acute overall malnutrition (MAG) is 9.5%. This rate also confirms the trends observed in the different nutritional surveys carried out in the post-harvest period and between 5.6% and 10% nation-wide. Three regions of the country exceed the alert threshold of 10%. Such regions are namely Guidimakha (14.7%), Brakna (13.7%) and Gorgol (12.8%). In the Wilayas like HodhCharghy, HodhGharby, Assaba, Trarza, Tagant and Nouakchott, the MAG prevalence rates range from 7 to 10%.

Populations’ displacement and insecurity aggravated the severity of food insecurity the consequence of which was the increase of the number of persons in crisis or in emergency status. The Harmonized Framework Analysis workshop held in March 2017 confirms that for the on-going review period (April-May 2017), three (3) Wilayas out of 13 are classified in phase 2 (under pressure). Wilayas concerned are Nouakchott, Adrar and Guidimakha. The remaining Wilayas are classified in phase 1 (minimum). In projected situation, three Wilayas are ranked in minimal phase (Tiris Zemmour, Inchiri and Dakhlet Nouadhibou), while all the other Wilayas are ranked in phase 2 (Under pressure).

With respect to populations estimated for severe food insecurity (High crisis level) for the period April - May 2017 was 126,443 persons. for the period June-August 2017, the total number of populations estimated for severe food insecurity was projected to be 281,156 persons (29,404 among them in phase 4 “emergency”).

Presently, the DREF is requested to assist the populations of Brakna and Gorgol who currently have high percentages in malnutrition cases , 19.8 % for the first locality and 18.4 % for the last one. That marked deterioration of the situation results from a deficit in rainfall over the last few years. The target number of persons (beneficiaries) for the two regions are 9,750 people. through the DREF operation, the overall plan is to address the needs in the emergency pockets identified in the communes of Brakna and Gorgol and for laying the bases for the Operation through more thorough assessments and good planning for a 4-year programme.

Also, the Mauritanian Red Crescent is taking part together with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (IFRC, ICRC) and other Partners in the food security cluster to provide an emergency response to households suffering from food and food insecurity on the one hand and to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable household and the capacity of national actors to cope with shocks. These two objectives are aimed at addressing an integrated response including immediate food assistance during the lean season as well as, where conditions are favorable, strengthening or restoring livelihoods. The DREF will allow to assist 1,625 households. The operation will be continued by other financing mechanism depending on evolution of the crisis (Emergency Appeal or Operational plan, possible elements of forecast based financing to be explored) to support more people in food difficulties.