NOUAKCHOTT – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a vital injection of €1.5 million from the European Union to help meet the food needs of Malian refugees in Mauritania.
Funding from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) received at the end of 2016 has allowed WFP to provide cash assistance during January and February 2017 for approximately 48,500 refugees from Mali who live in the Mbera camp.
Since the end of September 2016, an additional 6,000 people have crossed the border seeking refuge from insecurity and violence in northern Mali, swelling the number of registered refugees assisted by WFP in Mbera camp.
“ECHO’s contribution arrived at a pivotal time for meeting the food needs of Malian refugees for the first two months of the year,” said Jean-Noel Gentile, WFP Country Director for Mauritania. “Without this vital injection of funds, WFP would have been forced to suspend its assistance.”
WFP plans to continue providing a flexible package of assistance comprising cash and in-kind food rations. Cash–based transfers allow families to buy the food of their liking at local markets along with other basic items, such as cooking fuel.
WFP also plans to distribute in-kind rations of staple foods and fortified supplementary foods for vulnerable malnourished children and pregnant woman and nursing mothers. Additionally, WFP aims to provide one warm daily school meal to primary school children throughout the school year.
Currently, WFP is working with UNHCR, partners and the Mauritanian Government to better align the type of assistance it provides to the needs of refugees through carrying out vulnerability-based targeting. The targeting would allow WFP to reach the most vulnerable among the refugee population, while designing long-term self-reliance and resilience building activities in consultations with refugees, partners and Government. This approach is in line with WFP’s efforts in Mauritania to strengthen synergies and better integrate humanitarian assistance and development activities.
From March until the end of the year, WFP Mauritania will need USD 8.7 million to continue providing assistance to Malian refugees in the camp.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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