WFP alleviates food shortages in remote corner of Mauritania

Published on 17 August 2005

WFP steps up emergency distributions of food in Mauritania, including to 6,300 people suffering from serious food shortages in parts of the remote Hodh Chargui region.

WFP is stepping up emergency distributions of food in Mauritania, including to 6,300 people suffering from serious food shortages in parts of the remote Hodh Chargui region.

Following reports of several cases of severe malnutrition in the area, WFP completed a rapid assessment mission and on Tuesday began distributing 90 metric tons of food – equivalent to a complete monthly ration for 6,300 people. Distributions are taking place for the first time in the communes of Bassikounou and Fassala in the far east of Mauritania, close to the border with Mali.

“Although the Hodh Chargui region does not fall into the zones targeted by our ongoing operation in Mauritania, as soon as it became clear that food was needed, we moved to get it to these areas as quickly as possible,” said Khaled Adly, WFP’s Acting Regional Director for West Africa.

Since the locust invasions of 2004, WFP has closely monitored the situation in Mauritania. WFP survey teams are in the field gathering information on food security and nutrition. If other areas require similar assistance, WFP is in a position to respond immediately to additional needs through its continuing relief operation.

Already this year, WFP has distributed over 18,000 tons of food worth US$9 million to 400,000 people in its operation to help the most vulnerable in Mauritania recover from consecutive years of drought. Mauritania was also hit worse than any other country in the region by the massive locust invasion of 2004. This was a major contributing factor to a 36 percent decline in the national cereal crop over the five-year average.

“Thanks to the way our donors have responded this year we have been able to act quickly to deal with a pocket of severe need. Mauritania is not experiencing the kind of crisis that the world has recently woken up to in Niger, but that is largely because WFP and other humanitarian organisations have been given more timely resources to do what we do best – help those who are in greatest need,” said Adly.

To date, WFP’s US$30.9 million operation in Mauritania has received US$14.8 million – a 52 percent shortfall. Donors include: United States (US$8.6 million); Multilateral (US$1.4 million); European Commission (US$1.2 million); Luxembourg (US$920,000); France (US$750,000); Germany (US$648,000); Spain (US$381,000); Turkey (US$300,000); Italy (US$271,000).

NIGER: WFP has currently received a total of US$24.8 million for its US$57.6 million emergency operation for the food crisis in Niger – a shortfall of US$33 million or 57 percent.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year, we give food to an average of 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 56 million hungry children, in at least 80 of the world's poorest countries. WFP -- We Feed People.

WFP Global School Feeding Campaign – For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school – a gift of hope for a brighter future.

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Ramin Rafirasme

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Caroline Hurford

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Gregory Barrow

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