WFP’s funding outlook for 2017 is extremely dire with ration cuts and pipeline breaks already taking place for the PRRO, the Country Programme and UNHAS. For the next 6 months, WFP faces a funding shortfall of 48 percent for its assistance to refugees; 68 percent for its assistance to local Mauritanians; 86 percent for school meals; and 32 percent for UNHAS.
Erratic assistance will likely have a detrimental effect on the resilience and self-reliance capabilities, coping strategies, food security and nutrition situation of people assisted by WFP.
Security remains a concern especially in Hodh Ech-Charghi where refugee and host population operations are implemented.
PRRO – Refugees Component
A decrease in the number of registered refugees in Mbera was observed in January 2017, despite the latest incidents reported inside the Malian territory. In January, WFP was able to assist all registered refugees but could only provide the cash value of the monthly ration (65 percent) worth 4,200 Mauritanian Ouguiya (USD 12,45 ) per household due to lack of funding for the in-kind component (35 percent) of the ration.
Malnutrition treatment activities for pregnant and nursing women and children aged 6-59 months in the month of January were limited to one week due to operational delays. For this reason, WFP assisted only half of the planned 658 assistance recipients (children and mothers). School meals were regularly distributed to 4,534 children in the camp’s six primary schools.
Overall, WFP assisted 46,875 refugees in January, amongst which 29,131 were women.
PRRO – Local Vulnerable Population Component
Following a strategic review of its operations, in 2017, WFP plans to focus assistance to the local Mauritanian population on a package of nutrition, and unconditional food and cash transfers activities during the lean season (April-October) to the extent possible. Food assistance for assets (FFA) activities are instead planned in the period prior to the lean season to strengthen communities’ self-reliance and resilience to climate-induced shocks.
Accordingly, in January, WFP supported participants of FFA activities to complete the cycle of gardening activities started in December 2016. Nearly 1,500 people in Gorgol, Guidimakha, and Assaba were assisted with cash distributions of 12,000 Mauritanian Ouguiya per household per month. Gardening activities progressed well in all regions and allowed easy access to nutritious food and provided a source of income to community members. In Tagant, Gorgol and Hodh el-Gharbi WFP also carried out nutrition activities for 3,200 children aged 6-59 months and 775 pregnant and nursing women for the treatment of malnutrition.
Country Programme – School meals programme
The school meals programme has been put on hold throughout the country due to funding constraints since December 2015. The programme will partially resume in February 2017.
In January, UNHAS transported 280 passengers and 2,000 mt of light cargo in 38 rotations between Nouakchott and other locations.
Impact of Limited Funding
2017 Net Funding requirements: PRRO and CP require USD 11.8 million for the next six months. Urgent funding is needed to assist Malian refugees and the local population with life-saving food assistance and resilience-building activities, and to resume the school meals programme in Mauritania for some 73,000 children.
As the sole air service provider for humanitarian operations, UNHAS is crucial for the humanitarian community to reach its recipient people in remote and difficult to access areas of Mauritania. Immediate funding of USD 0.6 million for UNHAS operations is needed to prevent a suspension of activities from May onward