Human Development Index
157 (out of 188 countries ranked)
People Helped in 2020: 285,189
People Reached by Nutrition and Health Programs
People Reached by Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs
People Reached by Food Security and Livelihoods Programs
Mauritania is a vast desert—less than one percent of its land is usable for agriculture. The climate leaves very little opportunity for farmers, and makes the country more dependent on food imported from other countries, making many Mauritanians vulnerable to fluctuating food prices and problems of supply. Beyond high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition, Mauritania ranks poorly in terms of access to water and sanitation, as the majority of the country’s population is nomadic and has little regular access to basic necessities.
The country’s scarce resources are also being stretched thin by the growing number of refugees entering the country. In 2012, escalating violence in neighboring Mali forced more than 74,000 Malians to flee for their safety into Mauritania. Many Malians left their homes and livestock behind, arriving in Mauritania malnourished and dehydrated. Access to resources like food, water and land is crucial for the health and safety of both the refugee populations and host communities.
In 2020, the food insecurity situation in the south and east of the country continued to deteriorate. Scarce rains for the fourth consecutive year resulted in a lack of pasture and low agricultural production. Many people in the country are highly vulnerable to shocks, and the resilience of households has been greatly diminished after four years of climate crisis. The situation was also aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic which, although there were not a large number of cases in Mauritania, had a serious economic impact because of border closures.
Our teams on the ground focused on the implementation of humanitarian operations, incorporating prevention and protection measures against COVID-19 to minimize its spread.