The United States is providing $6 million in new humanitarian assistance and $5 million in economic support, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Mauritania, where nearly 680,000 people are facing a dire hunger crisis – the highest level of food insecurity in the country in a decade. A poor 2021 rainy season in Mauritania has compounded the effects of high food prices – exacerbated by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and COVID-19, making it more difficult for already vulnerable families to afford their basic food needs.
Communities in southern Mauritania are experiencing the worst effects of the drought, with farmers suffering widespread crop losses and pastoralists moving their livestock in search of food and better conditions. Mauritania also hosts nearly 87,000 refugees, the majority of whom have fled from conflict and violence in neighboring Mali and who rely on humanitarian food assistance to meet their daily needs.
Today’s funding will provide emergency food assistance to nearly 150,000 people. USAID will provide cash assistance for refugees living in the Mbera refugee camp, allowing families facing hunger to purchase food staples from local markets, supporting the local economy.
USAID-provided cash assistance will also help vulnerable, drought-affected Mauritanians buy enough food during the ongoing lean season, also known as “hungry season,” to prevent families from resorting to negative coping mechanisms, such as selling reproductive cattle and forced migration, in order to eat.
USAID’s economic support, through the U.S. Feed the Future initiative, will enhance existing social protection and safety nets, increase youth employment skills and market access opportunities through apprenticeships, mentoring, financial support for small businesses, and linkages to private sector partners to better manage food security shocks in the short and long terms.
The U.S. remains a critical humanitarian donor to Mauritania, with this new announcement bringing U.S. funding to $19 million in Fiscal Year 2022 alone.
This is on top of the $15 million in development assistance, subject to Congressional approval, that the United States will invest in the Sahel region to support innovative, market-based solutions to food production and food security issues. This funding is part of the $2.76 billion in additional U.S. government resources to protect the world’s most vulnerable populations from the escalating global food security crisis exacerbated by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and drought.
For the latest updates on U.S. humanitarian assistance to Mauritania, visit here.