Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Since March 13, 2020, Mauritania has been facing the COVID-19 pandemic. As of November 15, 7,952 confirmed cases were registered, including 7,524 recoveries and 165 deaths; and a total of 95,389 tests were performed. After lifted all restrictions and closed all the containment centre for asymptomatic patients in place, the Government has developed the new strategy of cohabitation with COVID-19. These decisions continue to be interpreted by a large part of the population as the end of the pandemic in Mauritania, leading to a lack of respect for barrier measures and a very low level of alerts. However, in the world and in some neighbouring countries, there is a resurgence of cases, raising fears of a second wave for Mauritania. Meanwhile, the Government continues reminding to populations the preventive measures respect. Dedicated efforts continue to be initiated by the Government and partners to strengthen the healthcare system, community ICP and RCCE interventions. Since October 1, Assaba, Tagant, Brakna and Hodh El Gharbi region are affected by Rift Valley Fever cases. This fever has touched 378 sensitive camels, 68 human cases and 26 deaths. The current trend shows a decrease in the number of confirmed cases. The occurrence of this epidemic has resulted in the movements restriction in the affected areas. This may hinder all interventions, including prevention and response to COVID-19 in the affected areas. In a recently published report, the World Bank alerted about the macro-economic and social impact of COVID-19 in Mauritania, as well as the impact on food security. Based on their scenario, the poverty rate could increase from 5,5% in 2019 to 6% (or 6.3%) in 2020, pushing 25,000 (or 42,000) additional people to fall into extreme poverty. This impact would be felt more by women and girls through, for example, a withdrawal from the education system to take care of their family members at home and the increase in gender-based violence. ACF's report on biomass production in 2020 analysis and 2021 perspective notices locally negative biomass production in western Mauritania (Tagant, Brakna and Trarza) and difficult economic context due to movement restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic. The Government multi-sectoral plan for cohabitation with COVID-19 and economic recovery have been finalized. UNICEF, jointly with WFP, will support the Government to provide critical social assistance support in the short and medium term, while contributing to strengthened national social protection systems in the medium to longer term. Immediate support will be provided responding to the needs generated by the pandemic, as well as helping to strengthen overall national capacities to adapt and build more shock-responsive, nutrition- and child-sensitive social protection systems moving forward.
The support provided to the Government by the United Nations and the humanitarian and development partners is coordinated through the Incident Command System (ICS). UNICEF ensures the lead of the “Risk communication and community engagement” (RCCE), including community watch, and “Infection Prevention and Control” (IPC) pillars. In accordance with the INFORM COVID-19 Risk Index, Mauritania shows high health and humanitarian impacts risks from COVID-19 that could overwhelm current national response capacity, and therefore lead to a need for additional international assistance.