UNICEF Mauritania Humanitarian Situation Report (July – September 2019)

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 13 Nov 2019

Highlights

• The 2019 SMART survey indicated that the national nutrition situation remains serious with 11.2 per cent of GAM and 1.8 per cent of SAM. Of the 56 districts, 23 are experiencing a nutritional emergency situation (GAM > 15 percent and/or SAM > 2 per cent). In addition to the 1,333 trained health workers in 2017-2018 another 117 was trained, thus representing 97% (1,450/1,498) of all health workers who were expected to receive training. UNICEF currently supports 739 outpatient and 20 inpatient therapeutic facilities (88 per cent of all health facilities) throughout the country. As part of the integrated community case management intervention in nutrition emergency districts, 234 children aged 0-5 years were treated for diseases (malaria, fever, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infection) during the reporting period in addition to 1,246 cases managed since the beginning of the year. Quality treatment was offered to 1,480 children with childhood diseases versus a target of 2,846 cases, to date.

• 11,361 people including 5,361 SAM children have access to safe drinking water through newly constructed water supply points and household water treatment. 5,000 children, including those affected by malnutrition, now have access to, and use adequate sanitation facilities in health centres.

• More than 3,260 people (from 7,260 persons in need of safe water) were provided with safe drinking water, in response to the floods in Guidimakha.

• 250 of the 350 health centres received WASH kits, and 20 health centres were equipped with adequate water- and sanitation facilities. 3,411 people living in host communities have discontinued open defecation and now use the newly constructed 481 latrines. 26,000 mother / child family units affected by malnutrition were sensitised to hygiene and essential family practices and received WASH Kits.

• In the M’Berra refugee camp and host communities, 466 new children were identified as a case of being at risk or being a survivor of violence, including 287 girls. A total of 2,959 children have been assisted with child protection interventions, since January 2019. 78 of 93 children – 84% obtained their primary school certificate at the M’Berra refugee camp. 38 (14 girls) of 141 children obtained their high school diploma. The community library was completed and equipped with more than 1,000 books in French, Arabic and English. 15,500 Malian school textbooks and 3,800 books for non-formal education were procured for the school year 2019-2020. 700 young people ( 388 girls) attended literacy courses at the camp while 758 young people (440 girls) attended literacy courses in the host communities of Bassiknou.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Heavy 250 mm precipitation fell between August 24 and 26, 2019, in the Selibaby and the Guidimakha region, representing 31-50% of total yearly rainfall in that region. These heavy rains cause several damages, killing five people and leaving hundreds of families homeless. According to the evaluation report led by the technical working group of the regional crisis management, the floods have affected 5,371 households (or 7,560 people, of which more than 450 are now homeless). 174 water supply points, 48 schools and five health centres have been damaged. More than 150 cases of diarrhoea were reported in the first week. Other regions, such Gorgol and Hodh El Gharbi have also been affected by floods, but to a lesser degree. Access to affected communities has been challenging due to bad road conditions, delaying the response to some extent. However, local coordination mechanism implemented under the leadership of regional authorities and the involvement of humanitarian actors made providing quick assistance to those affected especially those temporary related in schools possible.

In March 2019, results from the Harmonised Framework (Cadre Harmonisé) 1 exercise led to an estimation that 375,891 people would be facing severe shortage of food in March and an expected 606,647 people would be facing severe food shortage during the 2019 lean season. An analysis of available data indicates that during the period of January to August 2019, the number of SAM cases registered d was similar to that of 2018 (16,225 versus 16,806, respectively). The proportion of newly admitted SAM cases per month is about 12.5 per cent, similar to 2018: 2,028 / 16,225 versus 2,101/16,806. However, with only 77 per cent of reports completed by the end of August 2019, these figures might increase. Further, the proportion of newly admitted SAM cases has been higher in certain regions compared to same period in 2018, namely, Trarza (87 per cent), Guidimakha (30 per cent), Gorgol (29 per cent), Tagant (19 per cent), Adrar (7 per cent), Assaba (5 per cent). Projections of the Harmonised Framework (Cadre Harmonisé) indicate that over 606,647 people will be in a critical food shortage situation during the lean season in 2019, which is much higher than the average. Data from Assaba show an increase in service utilisation with 234 children under five having been treated for childhood diseases in July thanks to the ASC training and supervision provided. The situation remains particularly precarious with a high risk of further deterioration. Indeed, in 2019 the raining season was delayed by more than two months. At the end of August 2019, 71 per cent (51 / 72) stations were in rainfall deficit compared to the average cumulative rainfall over the same period. Further analysis showed that 11 of 13 regions now have a rainfall deficit over 50 per cent. The consequence of the delay and rainfall deficit includes low biomass development and delay in agricultural activities. The continuity of rainfall in October with a better spatial distribution is uncertain, and could lead to the following consequences: (i) high risk of a third consecutive year of drought; (ii) a need to revise the survival strategies developed so far by communities to cope with the last two years of drought; and (iii) acute vulnerability in the seven chronically affected regions (Hodh Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Guidimakha, Assaba, Tagan, Gorgol, Brakna). Flooding in Gorgol and Guidimakha suddenly increased the vulnerability of communities, including: (i) limited physical access to consolidate the 2018 emergency response; (ii) destruction of crops and livestock; (iii) limited access to safe drinking water due to contamination of boreholes; and (iv) increased risk of morbidity (diarrhoea, malaria...) and acute malnutrition in children under 5 years of age.

Established in 2012 and located 30 kilometres from the Malian border, the M’Berra refugee camp currently hosts 56,136 refugees, including 33,618 children2 , and continues to depend on assistance from the Mauritanian government and external and humanitarian support, in addition to the generosity of local communities in the Bassiknou district. Currently, several initiatives are in place to address the needs of both refugee and host populations, to strengthen the humanitarian-development nexus, to improve the resilience of refugees and host communities and to ensure the sustainability of interventions in Bassiknou district, as well as in the Hodh Chargui region, which has been identified as one of the three convergence zones of the UN system from 2018 to 2022.