International aid has now started flowing into Mauritania - the country that has suffered most from the fourth year of drought sweeping West and Central Africa, according to the World Food Organisation.
International aid has now started flowing into Mauritania - the country that has suffered most from the fourth year of drought sweeping West and Central Africa, according to the World Food Organisation. It has also received less international aid then any other country, except Chad.
Less than a quarter of the two-and-a-half million cattle experts thought the country had in 1968 are left alive. The nomadic population of the mauritanian desert rely on their livestock for food, transport, and the small sums of cash they need. Now the nomads are gathering on the outskirts of the towns, and Nouakchott's population has risen from 50,000 to 100,000 - a trend that is evident at every oasis and town in the country.
Disease has followed the drought, and cattle and camels are being affected by tsetse fly and sleeping sickness. International Aid organisations have launched a massive vaccination programme to combat the spread of disease.
There are fears that the drought conditions may last for another year, as the affected African countries report insufficient rain during the June to September rainy season.
However, Mauritania is receiving aid from several countries, including Libya, which placed several C-132 transport aircraft at the government's disposal. The aircraft will be able to fly urgently needed supplies in to the interior, to places that are unreachable by road during the winter months.
SYNOPSIS: International aid is loaded in Mauritania - the country that has suffered more from the four-year drought than any of the other counties bordering the Sahara Desert. And, except for Chad, it has received less international aid than the others. Millions of cattle and camels have died, from drought and disease.
The supplies and foodstuffs that have been imported have to be flown into the interior. Aircraft have to be used to cross country that is impassable during the winter months. The shortage of food grain is very severe. Last year's harvest was 80 per cent, below average. Most of the grain that has been imported this year, has already been consumed.
Other countries have come to Mauritania's aid. Libya has put several C-132 transport aircraft at the country's disposal, and Spain has donated lorries and grain.