Cash assistance from WFP allowed Fatamatou, 32, and her family to keep their goats. They are now better equipped to face this year's lean season. WFP/Michael Sadleir

Life On The Brink Of Hunger in Mauritania

The land is deceptively green in the southern part of Mauritania. Recent rains may have allowed grass to grow and livestock to graze, but the region is still undergoing its “lean season” and, with meager harvests still some months away, the local populations of the southern regions of Brakna, Gorgol, Assaba, Tagant, and Guidimaka are struggling to see themselves through to harvest. 


Located in the arid Sahel region of West Africa, Mauritania is among the world’s least developed food-deficit countries, ranked 155 out of 187 on the 2013 UNDP Human Development Index, and between 20 and 30 percent of the country's population is still suffering from high food insecurity. The situation worsened in Mauritania following droughts across the Sahel in 2011 and recent waves of violence in Mali, which have forced tens of thousands of Malians to flee their homes and seek refuge in neighboring countries. According to official UNHCR figures (as of 29 April 2013), 74,108 Malians have settled in M’bera camp, located near the Malian border in the southeast of Mauritania. 



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