Mauritania Humanitarian Situation Report (July - September 2018)

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 30 Sep 2018

Highlights
- Following torrential rains of 8-9 September, caused flooding in the town of Bassiknou, 1,300 km from Nouakchott, UNICEF joined other partners and local authorities in responding to the needs of 1,691 affected households (6,994 people) in the town of Bassiknou.
- As of end of August 2018, 16,865 children with SAM were admitted for treatment throughout the country (52 per cent of the estimated national caseload at 32,244 SAM cases for 2018). The 2018 SMART survey showed that the national nutrition situation is still serious with 11.6 per cent of GAM and 2.3 per cent of SAM; 23 districts out of 55 are in nutrition emergency situation (GAM>15 percent and/or SAM >2 per cent). UNICEF has ensured the timely distribution of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and other life-saving nutrition supplies and training of 387 health workers and 447 community health workers to support 678 out-patient therapeutic and 19 in-patient facilities (80 per cent of all health facilities) throughout the country.
- 39,242 people in need (30 per cent of UNICEF target) now have access to water, hygiene and sanitation basic services in Tagant, Hodh El Chargui, Guidimakha, Assaba and Hodh El Gharbi.
- Education in emergencies activities addressed the education needs of 8,217 and 5,090 children in the M’Berra Camp and in host communities respectively. A total of 1881 (750 boys, 1131 girls) children exposed to violence, abuse and exploitation from the M’Berra refugee camp and host communities have been identified and referred to government/CSO services including legal assistance, medical services, psychosocial support and vocational/education services since January 2018.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Mauritania is experiencing a severe drought, affecting agro-pastoralist communities in central, southern and eastern regions of the country. Irregular rainfalls during the 2017 rainy season have led to dry pastures, reduced agricultural production, and low-surface water availability in most areas and consequently triggered an early transhumance and destocking of livestock. From January to August 2018, the proportion of new SAM cases admitted increased by 13 per cent per month (on average) compared to the same period in 2017 (only 9 per cent per month). With this increase, Mauritania reached in the same period of 2018, 29 per cent more children with SAM than in 2017 and 13 per cent more than in 2015 which was a nutrition crisis year. The 2018 SMART survey which was conducted during the lean season (July) showed that the nutrition situation remains serious in Mauritania with a small increase of GAM, 11.6 per cent compared to 10.9 per cent in 2017; whereas the incidence of SAM was similar to 2017 (2.3 per cent), just above the critical threshold (2 per cent). In addition, 23 districts faced nutritional emergency conditions (MAG> 15 per cent and / or SAM> 2 per cent) compared to 21 districts in 2017. Unequal spatial-temporal rainfall distribution shows significant rainfall deficit in the northern, western, central and two eastern regions. The nutrition situation is still fragile; more vigilance and integrated nutrition intervention are still required.

Established in 2012 and located 30km from the Malian border, the refugee camp in M’Berra, which currently hosts 57,425 refugees, including 34 555 children, continues to depend on external assistance, humanitarian assistance and the generosity of already impoverished local communities in the Bassiknou district (which has a population of around 50,000 people). Competition over access to pasture, cross-border movements of livestock and water are likely to increase the risk of conflict in this agro-pastoral area. In addition, torrential rains of 8-9 September, caused flooding in the region of Bassiknou, 1,300 km from Nouakchott, with 160mm / 48 hours volume of precipitated water affecting hundreds of homes and public infrastructure; extending to the Néré region. In coordination with the local authorities, UNICEF joined humanitarian response to 1,691 affected households (6,994 people) in the town of Bassiknou and 75 affected households registered in the locality of Néré seven kilometres from Fassala by distributing NFI (water bladders, latrine slabs, plastic sheeting, garbage bins, jerricans, soap, WASH kits, chlorine). Five hundred twenty-two households (2,610 people) identified as homeless and delocalized in two sites offered by the local authorities, received between 10-26 September, humanitarian assistance including latrines, delivery of drinking water, sanitation of sites within the WASH Group, among others, under the coordination of UNICEF. With the support of UNICEF, the Mauritanian Red Crescent (CRM) mobilized 13 volunteers a day to promote hygiene and good practice in waste management. As coordinator of the social services sector group, UNICEF and its partner, ESD, also started the psychosocial support of children through sports and games activities. While UNICEF continues to work with the Mauritanian government, UN agencies and partners to strengthen access to basic services at the decentralized level, thereby boosting the synergy of interventions along the humanitarian-development nexus, the difficulty to mobilise resources to respond to both development and humanitarian remained an important challenge during the reporting period.