Mauritania had not fully recovered from the food price crisis of 2008 when an exceptionally severe drought struck the Sahel region in 2011-2012. The combination of poor harvests, high food prices and loss of livestock left much of the population severely food insecure. The conflict in Mali in 2012 exacerbated the crisis, disrupting food imports and triggering an influx of refugees. In mid-2012, during the peak lean season, almost a third of Mauritania’s population of 3.6 million were food insecure - the highest ever recorded.
Global acute malnutrition prevalence among children 6-59 months was 12 percent (“serious”), with certain areas beyond 15 percent and considered “critical”. By December 2012, 17 percent of Mauritanian households remained food-insecure.
Despite a relatively good 2012/2013 harvest and improved food availability, agricultural production remains insufficient to meet the country’s food requirements. Communities remain weakened by the cumulative shocks of previous crises.
Food security monitoring indicates that 800,000 people will be food-insecure by July 2013.