NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (June 7, 2012) – Mauritania continues to face its worst lean season in years. Twenty-five per cent of households are food insecure, and 52% of those are severely food insecure. Many children are now suffering from malnutrition and many more are expected to be affected before the end of the lean season in late September.
By December 2011, 35,000 children were already suffering from global acute malnutrition, and more than 5,000 of those had severe acute malnutrition, a deadly condition. It is estimated that almost 12,600 children in the country could suffer severe acute malnutrition this year.
The crisis, caused by a region-wide severe drought, has been complicated by the arrival of more than 65,000 refugees from Mali in one of the most food-insecure regions of Mauritania. The refugees are mostly women and children.
A donated UPS flight arrived in Nouakchott, Mauritania, earlier this week, carrying lifesaving supplies from UNICEF, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Program (WFP).
It is the second flight in three months that has been donated by UPS, bringing supplies to respond to the needs of children and communities affected by the worsening nutrition crisis.
Without these UPS flights, it would have taken months to ship the supplies, or cost UNICEF hundreds of thousands in air freight. The funds saved mean that more resources are available to directly assist the children of Mauritania and refugees from Mali. UNICEF and its partners have also been able to respond more quickly and flexibly to children’s immediate needs.
Supplies from the first UPS flight, which took place on April 11, have already been distributed, helping treat 460 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, enabling 840 children in M’Bera refugee camp to attend school, and providing water storage to 4,000 refugees.
The most recent delivery contained basic family water kits that will benefit an estimated 1,250 people. The flight also brought 88 school-in-a-box kits, which will supply learning materials to 3,520 children, and 108 tarpaulins, which will aid the construction of 864 latrines for 17,280 people.
UPS is a longstanding partner of UNICEF and has consistently supported UNICEF’s preparedness and emergency relief efforts.