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Country analysis

Mauritania


Mauritania is vulnerable to natural hazards, such as droughts and flooding, which heighten malnutrition rates, disrupt livelihoods, and lead to deteriorating food insecurity levels. The country is also facing the dire consequences of climate change. The land in Mauritania is mainly desert, and only about 0.5% is arable land. As a result, most of the population relies on traditional agriculture and livestock farming and is heavily dependent on the rainy seasons.

Over 22% of people live in poverty, and 9.8% of children are facing acute malnutrition. In December 2022, more than 990,000 people were projected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity levels or worse during the 2023 post-lean season (April–June).

Mauritania was hosting more than 98,000 refugees from Mali as at November 2022. Many Malian refugees have lived in Mauritania since 2012, but their number has sharply increased since March 2022, owing to increased violence and insecurity in Mali. Most refugees live in the Mbera refugee camp (Hodh el Chargui region), and returns to Mali remain unlikely because of continued insecurity.

Refugees have been slowly integrating into society, with the majority working in farming, agriculture, or fishing in Lake Mahmouda. Since 2019, they have experienced consecutive periods of drought characterised by a lack of rain and increasing temperatures that affect their livelihoods. More than 60% of refugee households report inadequate food consumption.

(IFRC 05/07/2022, FAO/WFP 21/09/2022, UNHCR 03/03/2022, UNHCR 13/01/2022, UNHCR 30/10/2021)

Mauritania is vulnerable to natural hazards, such as droughts and flooding, which heighten malnutrition rates, disrupt livelihoods, and lead to deteriorating food insecurity levels. The country is also facing the dire consequences of climate change. The land in Mauritania is mainly desert, and only about 0.5% is arable land. As a result, most of the population relies on traditional agriculture and livestock farming and is heavily dependent on the rainy seasons.

Over 22% of people live in poverty, and 9.8% of children are facing acute malnutrition. In December 2022, more than 990,000 people were projected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity levels or worse during the 2023 post-lean season (April–June).

Mauritania was hosting more than 98,000 refugees from Mali as at November 2022. Many Malian refugees have lived in Mauritania since 2012, but their number has sharply increased since March 2022, owing to increased violence and insecurity in Mali. Most refugees live in the Mbera refugee camp (Hodh el Chargui region), and returns to Mali remain unlikely because of continued insecurity.

Refugees have been slowly integrating into society, with the majority working in farming, agriculture, or fishing in Lake Mahmouda. Since 2019, they have experienced consecutive periods of drought characterised by a lack of rain and increasing temperatures that affect their livelihoods. More than 60% of refugee households report inadequate food consumption.

(IFRC 05/07/2022, FAO/WFP 21/09/2022, UNHCR 03/03/2022, UNHCR 13/01/2022, UNHCR 30/10/2021)

current crises
in Mauritania


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

MRT002 - Malian refugees

Last updated 25/09/2023


Drivers

Displacement

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.2 Medium

Access constraints

1.0

MRT003 - Food security

Last updated 25/09/2023


Drivers

Drought
Floods

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.6 Medium

Access constraints

1.0