M’bera camp is in the desert in south-east Mauritania, some 50 km from the Malian border. Thanks to the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO) and other donors, WFP is providing life-saving assistance to more than 74,000 refugees who have fled conflict in northern Mali since early 2012.
Besides providing shelter and basic household items, WFP, UNHCR and NGO partners have been distributing food each month, including rations to treat and prevent moderate acute malnutrition among children and women. Health services and nutrition support are also provided by UNICEF and NGOs (such as MSF) for treatment of severe acute malnutrition among children.
The camp’s remote location, combined with security risks and harsh conditions have hampered agencies providing humanitarian assistance. The first assessments in early 2012 showed a worrying food and nutrition situation with 26 percent of households in the camp suffering from high food insecurity and a prevalence of global acute malnutrition above the 15 percent emergency threshold (set by WHO).
Since 2012, the situation in M’bera refugee camp has improved. Acute malnutrition levels among children have fallen below the emergency threshold but are still considered ‘serious’ - affecting more than 10 percent of young children. Children under five with moderate acute malnutrition and malnourished women are treated in six supplementary feeding centers (CRENAMs), managed by WFP and partners.
Each month, more than 2,000 children receive a highly nutritious ration of corn-soya blend, sugar and oil. WFP staff encourage refugee families to bring children who are at risk to the centers, for regular checks. They help parents understand that treatment programs improve their children’s nutritional status over the long-term.
Since the start of the emergency in February 2012, more than 15,000 metric tons of food and special nutritious products have been distributed by WFP and partners in the camp. WFP and UNHCR have worked together with the refugees to improve the food distribution system in the camp and to adjust food rations to their nutritional habits.