Foreign Policy Blogs

Mauritania’s Woes Highlight Ongoing Drought in the Sahel

Despite an infusion of funding from international donors to dull the effects of an ongoing drought in West Africa’s Sahel region, countries in the region are still in danger.  One of these countries, Mauritania, has a perennial problem with locusts that attach crops and is “a country that is three times the size of Arizona but has the smallest volume of potable water of any nation in the world.”

These factors challenge the ability of Mauritanians to grow food under normal conditions, but recent periods of inadequate rain, coupled with high food and fuel prices, have made it an especially dangerous time for the country’s food security.  The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that Mauritania is suffering from food insecurity on a scale three times greater than the previous food crisis in 2010.

The Mauritanian government has launched the “Hope 2012″ campaign, a $148 million project to keep over 2,400 shops open to sell subsidized food supplies to the over 700,000 Mauritanians at risk from the current crisis.  According to Time magazine, a $650 million appeal by the United Nations to aid the over 10 million people across the Sahel region has not reached even half of its goal.

If you are interested in supporting food aid projects in the Sahel, visit the websites of these organizations:

Action Against Hunger

Oxfam

World Food Programme

Image credit: Irina Fuhrmann/Oxfam