UN food agency provides emergency assistance to remote area of Mauritania

18 August 2005

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it has stepped up emergency food distribution in Mauritania, including to 6,300 people suffering from serious food shortages in parts of the remote Hodh Chargui region.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it has stepped up emergency food distribution in Mauritania, including to 6,300 people suffering from serious food shortages in parts of the remote Hodh Chargui region.

The agency said that on Tuesday it began distributing 90 metric tons of food – enough to complete a monthly ration for 6,300 people – following a completion of a rapid assessment mission conducted in response to reports of several cases of severe malnutrition in the area.

It said 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 to these areas as quickly as possible,” Khaled Adly, WFP’s Acting Regional Director for West Africa, said in a statement.

Already this year, WFP has distributed over 18,000 tons of food worth $9 million to 400,000 people to help the most vulnerable in Mauritania recover from drought.

Mauritania’s problems have been exacerbated by the massive locust invasion of 2004, which had a more severe impact on it than on any other country in the region. This was a major contributing factor to a 36 per cent decline in the national cereal crop over the five-year average.

 

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