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UNHCR Mauritania Flash Update (3 Sep. - 10 Sep. 2018)

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Key figures:

57,144 Malian refugees in Mbera camp

4,879 Malian refugees with specific needs identified

2,381 refugees and asylum-seekers registered in urban areas

5,366 arrivals from Mali at Mbera refugee camp since 1 January 2018

Funding USD 20.1 M required for 2018

Population Movements

So far in 2018, 5,366 refugees from Mali were assisted by UNHCR and partners upon their arrival at the Mbera refugee camp. Since June, arrivals in Mauritania have increased due to the security situation in Mali. Over 233 individuals were registered in August alone. Many refugees have reported on the insecure living conditions in Mali. Over 57,000 refugees are now sheltered in Mbera camp which is located near the Malian border, in a semi-arid area that is exposed to a high-risk of drought. In this context, the shortfall of food for refugees continues to be a great concern.

UNHCR Response

In Mbera camp, the provision of health services remains a priority. UNHCR is working with the Ministry of Health and other partners to ensure that health support is available in the camp. So far in 2018, in coordination with authorities and partners, UNHCR supported 175 medical evacuations, for both refugees and host community members, to hospitals in Kiffa, Nema and Nouakchott.

UNHCR and its partner Action Contre la Faim are improving water and sanitation support inside Mbera camp. A total of 1,943 lavatories were rehabilitated along with structural works to ensure enhanced water management.

In collaboration with the National Programme to Fight Blindness, UNHCR organised an ophthalmology medical caravan to Mbera camp in the southwestern region. A total of 191 refugees (including 66 women and 125 men) suffering from eye problems were transported to Bassikounou (20 km north of Mbera) where 37 refugees underwent surgical operations. In addition, 148 individuals from host communities (90 women and 58 men) benefitted from the ophthalmology services.

UNHCR and the Ministry of Interior continue to carry out a series of awareness sessions for the police and the gendarmerie. During the last round of sessions, UNHCR reached over 180 officers who normally work at various check points and mobile police stations in Nouakchott. These sessions aimed at enhancing awareness on international protection and the asylum regime in Mauritania. In addition,
UNHCR provided detailed information on its mandate, the difference between ‘refugee’, ‘asylum-seeker’ and ‘migrant’, their respective rights and the responses available in the context of mixed migration.

UNHCR continues to promote the resilience of women in Mbera camp and maintains an open dialogue with women and girls through participatory assessments, regular consultations, focus group discussions and thematic sessions organized at the camp. During the last consultations, womens’ participation stood at 42%. Women are also involved in the daily management of the camp, representing 53% of the membership in various camp committees. Targeted assistance is also provided. In the first six months of 2018, 15,160 women between the ages of 12 and 49 received hygiene kits. In urban settings, round-tables for refugee women are regularly organized by UNHCR and its partner to discuss issues related to women’s rights and gender equality. Womens’ participation in the urban refugee committees stands at 43%.

So far in 2018, UNHCR submitted 50 individual cases from its urban caseload for resettlement to third countries. Since the beginning of the year, six refugees departed under UNHCR’s resettlement programme. Another 11 refugees, whose cases were submitted in 2015 for resettlement to the United States of America, departed Mauritania in June 2018