Posts tagged food

Photo: People queue for food distribution in Mugunga III camp. DRC 2012 © Aurelie Baumel/MSF
DRC: High Levels of Sexual Violence in Goma Camps
People displaced by armed conflict around Goma are now suffering high levels of sexual violence in and around the camps where they have taken shelter.
Between December 3, 2012, and January 5, 2013, the MSF team working in Mugunga III camp, a few kilometers west of Goma, registered and treated 95 patients who were victims of sexual violence, with a notable increase in late December. MSF denounces the lack of action on the part of those responsible for protecting civilians and the poor security conditions in the Goma camps. 
“The camps and surrounding villages face a glaring lack of security,” said Thierry Goffeau, MSF head of mission in Goma. “The responsible authorities and the leaders of the various armed groups all claim—without exception—that they are defending the civilian populations. They must thus assume their responsibility and ensure that the most vulnerable are not subject to violence or reprisals.”

Photo: People queue for food distribution in Mugunga III camp. DRC 2012 © Aurelie Baumel/MSF

DRC: High Levels of Sexual Violence in Goma Camps

People displaced by armed conflict around Goma are now suffering high levels of sexual violence in and around the camps where they have taken shelter.

Between December 3, 2012, and January 5, 2013, the MSF team working in Mugunga III camp, a few kilometers west of Goma, registered and treated 95 patients who were victims of sexual violence, with a notable increase in late December. MSF denounces the lack of action on the part of those responsible for protecting civilians and the poor security conditions in the Goma camps. 

“The camps and surrounding villages face a glaring lack of security,” said Thierry Goffeau, MSF head of mission in Goma. “The responsible authorities and the leaders of the various armed groups all claim—without exception—that they are defending the civilian populations. They must thus assume their responsibility and ensure that the most vulnerable are not subject to violence or reprisals.”

MSF Field Report: Decreasing Child Mortality in South Sudan
Patients I’ll Never Forget 


While working in Batil Refugee camp setting up an inpatient therapeutic feeding center, Dr. Jacoby met several patients that she’ll never forget. One of her first patients was a young boy with multiple bee stings to his head. He was in good humor and basically ok, but was starving for food to eat. When food was scarce, young boys, like “Bee Boy,” would climb trees to get honey from beehives for their families to eat.

Another one of her patients, Aziza, was severely malnourished and almost died multiple times a day for the first week. She would go into shock, because she was suffering from lots of infections that were difficult to treat. “We had to be really careful with Aziza, because malnourished kids lose so much muscle, and a lot of the muscle they lose is in their heart. If you give them too much fluid, they go into heart failure. So we sat with Aziza and we gave her small amounts of fluid, and then we’d recheck her heart rate every 15-20 minutes,” says Dr. Jacoby.

By the end of Dr. Jacoby’s stay in the Batil camp, Aziza was sitting up and even smiling a little bit. She would only cry when she was hungry. A couple of weeks later, Aziza finally went home.

Photo: Two-year-old Fadilla before and after receiving treatment for severe malnutrition and tuberculosis. 
When Fadilla’s grandmother brought her to the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Am Timan, Chad, she wasn’t just malnourished – she was sick and in danger of dying.
At just 13 pounds, Fadilla weighed only about half of what a two-year-old child should. At the hospital, our teams diagnosed her with severe acute malnutrition and tuberculosis – two life-threatening medical conditions.
Malnutrition is a serious medical condition, and recovery only gets more difficult when illnesses like malaria or tuberculosis are also present. But with quality medical treatment, even children as sick as Fadilla can make a full recovery. It’s possible thanks to innovations like 33-cent packets of milk-based ready-to-use therapeutic food that are so simple to administer – most malnourished children can be treated by their parents or caregivers at home.
Fadilla’s tuberculosis meant she had to stay in the hospital, but after months of intensive treatment, the brightness returned to Fadilla’s eyes and she reached her target weight. “Look at Fadilla now!” her grandmother exclaimed to the hospital staff. “She is doing so much better!”
Thanks to the support of our donors, we treated 408,000 malnourished children last year. Our medical teams are able to travel to some of the most remote, dangerous, and neglected parts of the world to identify and treat children, like Fadilla, suffering from malnutrition.
There’s hope for even the most severely malnourished child. If we can reach them in time, treatments like therapeutic foods can help children who might not otherwise survive.
Donate to help Doctors Without Borders save the lives of malnourished children and bring quality medical care to people in nearly 70 countries around the world.

Photo: Two-year-old Fadilla before and after receiving treatment for severe malnutrition and tuberculosis. 

When Fadilla’s grandmother brought her to the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Am Timan, Chad, she wasn’t just malnourished – she was sick and in danger of dying.

At just 13 pounds, Fadilla weighed only about half of what a two-year-old child should. At the hospital, our teams diagnosed her with severe acute malnutrition and tuberculosis – two life-threatening medical conditions.

Malnutrition is a serious medical condition, and recovery only gets more difficult when illnesses like malaria or tuberculosis are also present. But with quality medical treatment, even children as sick as Fadilla can make a full recovery. It’s possible thanks to innovations like 33-cent packets of milk-based ready-to-use therapeutic food that are so simple to administer – most malnourished children can be treated by their parents or caregivers at home.

Fadilla’s tuberculosis meant she had to stay in the hospital, but after months of intensive treatment, the brightness returned to Fadilla’s eyes and she reached her target weight. “Look at Fadilla now!” her grandmother exclaimed to the hospital staff. “She is doing so much better!”

Thanks to the support of our donors, we treated 408,000 malnourished children last year. Our medical teams are able to travel to some of the most remote, dangerous, and neglected parts of the world to identify and treat children, like Fadilla, suffering from malnutrition.

There’s hope for even the most severely malnourished child. If we can reach them in time, treatments like therapeutic foods can help children who might not otherwise survive.

Donate to help Doctors Without Borders save the lives of malnourished children and bring quality medical care to people in nearly 70 countries around the world.

Interview: Niger’s Very Large But Sadly “Normal” Malnutrition Situation


A complex series of nutritional crises is unfolding across the nations of Africa’s Sahel region. MSF director of operations Dr. Jean-Clément Cabrol has just returned from southern Niger. In this interview, he describes what he found and why a new approach is needed to treat the children who bear the brunt of the region’s chronic food insecurity.Is there a food crisis in Niger?If you’re asking if the situation is exceptional, then the answer is no. In Niger, food access problems that trigger widespread malnutrition are unfortunately recurrent. In 2011, which was not even considered a crisis year, more than 300,000 severely malnourished children were treated throughout Niger, and not only by MSF. This year, that figure could reach 390,000.Read the rest of the interview here.

Photo: A child is weighed at the MSF integrated health center in Dakoro District, Maradi region.
Niger 2012 © Julie Remy

Interview: Niger’s Very Large But Sadly “Normal” Malnutrition Situation

A complex series of nutritional crises is unfolding across the nations of Africa’s Sahel region. MSF director of operations Dr. Jean-Clément Cabrol has just returned from southern Niger. In this interview, he describes what he found and why a new approach is needed to treat the children who bear the brunt of the region’s chronic food insecurity.

Is there a food crisis in Niger?
If you’re asking if the situation is exceptional, then the answer is no. In Niger, food access problems that trigger widespread malnutrition are unfortunately recurrent. In 2011, which was not even considered a crisis year, more than 300,000 severely malnourished children were treated throughout Niger, and not only by MSF. This year, that figure could reach 390,000.

Read the rest of the interview here. Photo: A child is weighed at the MSF integrated health center in Dakoro District, Maradi region.
Niger 2012 © Julie Remy

Afghanistan: Treating Child Malnutrition in Helmand

“She was vomiting and had diarrhea, and she kept losing weight,” says Mariam of her five-month-old granddaughter Nazia. “Her mother just didn’t have enough milk to feed her. We went to a private clinic but they couldn’t help us, and finally we drove here from our home district of Sangin. Nazia is feeling a little better now.”

Nazia, who still has a distended belly and a clearly visible rib cage, is one of the patients in the MSF herapeutic feeding center in Boost hospital in Lashkargah, the capital of Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

Boost hospital, where MSF has been working since 2009, is one of only two hospitals in all of southern Afghanistan. Helmand is one of the country’s most war-ravaged provinces, and has seen intense fighting over the past decades. It is home to a largely poor, rural population, even if there are signs of a growing middle class in Lashkargah.

MSF opened its feeding center in December 2011 to tackle the chronic problem of malnutrition among children in Helmand. This specialized unit helps children on the verge of starvation gain weight through assisted feeding.


Photo: An MSF staff member examines a child for malnutrition at Boost hospital.

Afghanistan 2012 © Camille Gillardeau

Afghanistan: Treating Child Malnutrition in Helmand

“She was vomiting and had diarrhea, and she kept losing weight,” says Mariam of her five-month-old granddaughter Nazia. “Her mother just didn’t have enough milk to feed her. We went to a private clinic but they couldn’t help us, and finally we drove here from our home district of Sangin. Nazia is feeling a little better now.”

Nazia, who still has a distended belly and a clearly visible rib cage, is one of the patients in the MSF herapeutic feeding center in Boost hospital in Lashkargah, the capital of Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

Boost hospital, where MSF has been working since 2009, is one of only two hospitals in all of southern Afghanistan. Helmand is one of the country’s most war-ravaged provinces, and has seen intense fighting over the past decades. It is home to a largely poor, rural population, even if there are signs of a growing middle class in Lashkargah.

MSF opened its feeding center in December 2011 to tackle the chronic problem of malnutrition among children in Helmand. This specialized unit helps children on the verge of starvation gain weight through assisted feeding.

Photo: An MSF staff member examines a child for malnutrition at Boost hospital.

Afghanistan 2012 © Camille Gillardeau

“There are solutions for all these problems. It’s just that more needs to be done—fast”

“…And the situation here is desperate. The water is running out, and when it’s gone, that’s it—you’re going to have 35,000 people without water. People are right on the borderline now. We’ve managed to provide 2.5 liters (a little over half a gallon) per person yesterday and we’re hoping to get that up to 3 liters today, but that’s nowhere near enough, and the pond where we are treating and distributing water is running out. Without water, or even with a reduced amount of water, people are going to be in trouble. They need help.”

—Nurse Chiara Burzio is working at the MSF field hospital in Jamam refugee camp in Maban County, Upper Nile State, South Sudan.Photo:Refugees from Sudan have entered South Sudan’s Upper Nile State by the tens of thousands. Refugee camp sites are packed and water supplies are dwindling.
South Sudan 2012 © Hereward Holland

“There are solutions for all these problems. It’s just that more needs to be done—fast”

“…And the situation here is desperate. The water is running out, and when it’s gone, that’s it—you’re going to have 35,000 people without water.

People are right on the borderline now. We’ve managed to provide 2.5 liters (a little over half a gallon) per person yesterday and we’re hoping to get that up to 3 liters today, but that’s nowhere near enough, and the pond where we are treating and distributing water is running out. Without water, or even with a reduced amount of water, people are going to be in trouble. They need help.

—Nurse Chiara Burzio is working at the MSF field hospital in Jamam refugee camp in Maban County, Upper Nile State, South Sudan.

Photo:Refugees from Sudan have entered South Sudan’s Upper Nile State by the tens of thousands. Refugee camp sites are packed and water supplies are dwindling.

South Sudan 2012 © Hereward Holland

Refugees in South Sudan: “We Walked for Six Days … With Nothing But Our Clothes”

“We were on the road for two months. Many villages we went through kept being bombed, so we had to keep fleeing. We had food for two weeks, then we ran out. We ate the lalop fruit and leaves from trees. We gave food for the children mostly, and some days we had nothing to eat. Some people got very sick and we had to leave some by the road—we could not carry them and they were too weak to continue.”

—28-year-old mother of six childrenPhoto: Refugees fleeing conflict and food insecurity in the Nuba Mountains face insufficient levels of assistance in Yida camp.

South Sudan 2012 © Sally McMillan

Refugees in South Sudan: “We Walked for Six Days … With Nothing But Our Clothes”

“We were on the road for two months. Many villages we went through kept being bombed, so we had to keep fleeing. We had food for two weeks, then we ran out. We ate the lalop fruit and leaves from trees. We gave food for the children mostly, and some days we had nothing to eat. Some people got very sick and we had to leave some by the road—we could not carry them and they were too weak to continue.”

—28-year-old mother of six children

Photo: Refugees fleeing conflict and food insecurity in the Nuba Mountains face insufficient levels of assistance in Yida camp.

South Sudan 2012 © Sally McMillan

Fighting Unusually High Malnutrition Rates in Chad and Preparing for Worse

As a food crisis continues to spread and levels of severe acute malnutrition continue to rise in Chad, MSF is expanding the number of emergency malnutrition treatment programs it is operating in the country. Even in a normal year, Chad has one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world. This year is showing signs of being worse than usual. In early 2012, in some areas of the country, rates of global acute malnutrition as high as 24 percent have already been reported among children under the age of five.Why are there such alarming rates of malnutrition in Biltine?
February is the beginning of the hunger gap in Chad, when families traditionally begin to run out of their food stocks. This year MSF found high rates of severe acute malnutrition rates among children under five, because only 46 percent of the harvest required to feed the population was harvested, which is well below the average. Many Chadians who worked in Libya also lost their jobs and returned home. Those men have moved to other parts of Chad to find work, but the salaries are much lower, so they are sending home less money.A staff member uses a MUAC to check a child for malnutrition at an MSF hospital in Chad.
Chad 2012 © Andrea Bussotti/MSF

Fighting Unusually High Malnutrition Rates in Chad and Preparing for Worse

As a food crisis continues to spread and levels of severe acute malnutrition continue to rise in Chad, MSF is expanding the number of emergency malnutrition treatment programs it is operating in the country. Even in a normal year, Chad has one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world. This year is showing signs of being worse than usual. In early 2012, in some areas of the country, rates of global acute malnutrition as high as 24 percent have already been reported among children under the age of five.

Why are there such alarming rates of malnutrition in Biltine?

February is the beginning of the hunger gap in Chad, when families traditionally begin to run out of their food stocks. This year MSF found high rates of severe acute malnutrition rates among children under five, because only 46 percent of the harvest required to feed the population was harvested, which is well below the average. Many Chadians who worked in Libya also lost their jobs and returned home. Those men have moved to other parts of Chad to find work, but the salaries are much lower, so they are sending home less money.

A staff member uses a MUAC to check a child for malnutrition at an MSF hospital in Chad.

Chad 2012 © Andrea Bussotti/MSF

Malian Refugees Urgently Need International Aid

Refugees from the West African country of Mali face insufficient levels of assistance in camps rife with disease and malnutrition where the looming rainy season will further complicate the deployment of aid, the international medical humanitarian organization MSF said today.

One-hundred sixty thousand Malian refugees living in camps in neighboring Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger are in urgent need of international assistance, particularly food distributions, MSF said. MSF teams working in the camps are treating children suffering from malnutrition. 

“Food insecurity is a threat both for the Malian refugees and for the host communities, which are already suffering from poor harvests,” said Malik Allaouna, MSF director of operations. “Only food distributions in sufficient quantity and quality will prevent children’s nutritional condition from further deteriorating.” Photo:Young Malian refugees in one of Burkina Faso’s refugee camps. 
Burkina Faso 2012 © Aurelie Baumel/MSF

Malian Refugees Urgently Need International Aid

Refugees from the West African country of Mali face insufficient levels of assistance in camps rife with disease and malnutrition where the looming rainy season will further complicate the deployment of aid, the international medical humanitarian organization MSF said today.

One-hundred sixty thousand Malian refugees living in camps in neighboring Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger are in urgent need of international assistance, particularly food distributions, MSF said. MSF teams working in the camps are treating children suffering from malnutrition.

Food insecurity is a threat both for the Malian refugees and for the host communities, which are already suffering from poor harvests,” said Malik Allaouna, MSF director of operations. “Only food distributions in sufficient quantity and quality will prevent children’s nutritional condition from further deteriorating.”

Photo:Young Malian refugees in one of Burkina Faso’s refugee camps. Burkina Faso 2012 © Aurelie Baumel/MSF

Seeing firsthand the distance so many families have to travel in order to seek basic treatment here, I worry about what the months of the hunger gap will bring when the effects of food insecurity and lack of access to early medical treatment are intertwined.
An MSF nurse writes about the positive impact community health workers have on preventing malnutrition in Chad. Read more.
Burkina Faso: Insufficient and Inadequate Support for 46,000 Malian Refugees

Access to food, water, and basic shelter continues to deteriorate for refugees from Mali in makeshift camps in a desert region of Burkina Faso, said the international medical humanitarian organization MSF on Monday.

More than a quarter million people have fled to Mali’s interior and neighboring countries since fighting erupted between Tuareg rebels and the Malian army earlier this year. Since mid January, 46,000 Malians have taken refuge in Burkina Faso, with the vast majority in Oudalan province in the north, a desert area where humanitarian aid is very limited. MSF teams are providing emergency medical aid in the refugee camps, where needs outstrip resources.Photo: Burkina Faso 2012 © Aurelie Baumel/MSF
Malian refugees fleeing conflict have come to find refuge in northern Burkina Faso, mainly in the provinces of Soum and Oudalan.

Burkina Faso: Insufficient and Inadequate Support for 46,000 Malian Refugees

Access to food, water, and basic shelter continues to deteriorate for refugees from Mali in makeshift camps in a desert region of Burkina Faso, said the international medical humanitarian organization MSF on Monday.

More than a quarter million people have fled to Mali’s interior and neighboring countries since fighting erupted between Tuareg rebels and the Malian army earlier this year. Since mid January, 46,000 Malians have taken refuge in Burkina Faso, with the vast majority in Oudalan province in the north, a desert area where humanitarian aid is very limited. MSF teams are providing emergency medical aid in the refugee camps, where needs outstrip resources.

Photo: Burkina Faso 2012 © Aurelie Baumel/MSF
Malian refugees fleeing conflict have come to find refuge in northern Burkina Faso, mainly in the provinces of Soum and Oudalan.

Sahel: As Likely Malnutrition Crisis Looms, MSF Prepares Short- And Long-Term Responses

A food crisis has been declared in the Sahelian Band of West Africa. UNICEF has estimated that up to 15 million people in six countries in the region are living with moderate or acute food insecurity. In a region where global acute childhood malnutrition rates regularly near the warning threshold of 10 percent, any factor that further reduces access to food can tip the situation into a full-blown nutritional crisis.

	Although MSF has not yet noted a significant increase in cases in most of its current nutritional programs, the organization did have to open new malnutrition treatment programs in Biltine and Yao, in Chad, where rates of acute malnutrition of 24 percent and 20 percent, respectively, have been reported. Teams are also evaluating the nutritional situation in other areas of Chad, as well as in Mali, Niger, Mauritania, and Senegal.

	“It is too soon to know the extent of the expected nutritional crisis,” says Stéphane Doyon, manager of MSF’s malnutrition campaign. “Traditionally, the most difficult period is still ahead, between May and July. However, we already project that hundreds of thousands of children will suffer from acute severe malnutrition, as they do every year in this region.”Photo: Chad 2011 © Alfons Rodriguez
An MSF staff member measures the mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) of a child with severe acute malnutrition in Chad.

Sahel: As Likely Malnutrition Crisis Looms, MSF Prepares Short- And Long-Term Responses

A food crisis has been declared in the Sahelian Band of West Africa. UNICEF has estimated that up to 15 million people in six countries in the region are living with moderate or acute food insecurity. In a region where global acute childhood malnutrition rates regularly near the warning threshold of 10 percent, any factor that further reduces access to food can tip the situation into a full-blown nutritional crisis.

Although MSF has not yet noted a significant increase in cases in most of its current nutritional programs, the organization did have to open new malnutrition treatment programs in Biltine and Yao, in Chad, where rates of acute malnutrition of 24 percent and 20 percent, respectively, have been reported. Teams are also evaluating the nutritional situation in other areas of Chad, as well as in Mali, Niger, Mauritania, and Senegal.

“It is too soon to know the extent of the expected nutritional crisis,” says Stéphane Doyon, manager of MSF’s malnutrition campaign. “Traditionally, the most difficult period is still ahead, between May and July. However, we already project that hundreds of thousands of children will suffer from acute severe malnutrition, as they do every year in this region.”

Photo: Chad 2011 © Alfons Rodriguez
An MSF staff member measures the mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) of a child with severe acute malnutrition in Chad.

Burkina Faso: Assistance to Refugees from Mali in the North

In the wake of violent clashes between Mali’s army and Tuareg rebels, nearly 20,000 Malians have fled their country and taken refuge in northern Burkina Faso. Most of the refugees are gathered in Oudalan, Seno and Soum Provinces. Doctors Without Borders is distributing water and food and assessing basic health care needs in the Mentao camp, which is near Djibo and which is now hosting 3,000 people, up from 1,000 people three weeks ago.

“There has been a significant increase in the refugee population, and we are expecting to have 5,000 to 10,000 people in this camp in the coming weeks,” says Jean Hereu, MSF’s head of mission in Burkina Faso.

MSF is distributing 50 cubic metres of water per day in Mentao. The teams are also providing food, having initially donated five tons of rice, red beans and oil, with more to come pending the start of an emergency response by the World Food Program (WFP). In the coming days, the teams will assess the medical needs of the refugees with Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Health. Photo:Burkina Faso © 2012 MSF
MSF carried out a food distribution for Malian refugees in the Mentao camp in northern Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso: Assistance to Refugees from Mali in the North

In the wake of violent clashes between Mali’s army and Tuareg rebels, nearly 20,000 Malians have fled their country and taken refuge in northern Burkina Faso. Most of the refugees are gathered in Oudalan, Seno and Soum Provinces. Doctors Without Borders is distributing water and food and assessing basic health care needs in the Mentao camp, which is near Djibo and which is now hosting 3,000 people, up from 1,000 people three weeks ago.

“There has been a significant increase in the refugee population, and we are expecting to have 5,000 to 10,000 people in this camp in the coming weeks,” says Jean Hereu, MSF’s head of mission in Burkina Faso.

MSF is distributing 50 cubic metres of water per day in Mentao. The teams are also providing food, having initially donated five tons of rice, red beans and oil, with more to come pending the start of an emergency response by the World Food Program (WFP). In the coming days, the teams will assess the medical needs of the refugees with Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Health.

Photo:Burkina Faso © 2012 MSF
MSF carried out a food distribution for Malian refugees in the Mentao camp in northern Burkina Faso.

Urgent Humanitarian Aid Needed For 80,000 Sudanese Refugees


Driven by fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile State, tens of thousands of refugees now in camps across the border in South Sudan need assistance before the looming rainy season renders the area impassable.

“The refugees are left almost completely reliant on humanitarian assistance because the area has scarce water and food,” said Julien Matter, MSF emergency coordinator. “The sheer number of refugees fleeing here has grown far beyond anything anyone anticipated. Providing the bare survival essentials now, and over the coming rainy season, will be a serious challenge in such a remote place,” he said.

Newly arriving refugees speak of ongoing bombing and fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile State. While people have sought safety in the Doro and Jamam camps, they have encountered a harsh environment where their ability to survive is stretched to the breaking point.Photo: South Sudan 2012 © Robin Meldrum/MSF
Refugees in the Jamam camp in South Sudan, after having fled fighting and bombing in Blue Nile State across the border in Sudan.

Urgent Humanitarian Aid Needed For 80,000 Sudanese Refugees

Driven by fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile State, tens of thousands of refugees now in camps across the border in South Sudan need assistance before the looming rainy season renders the area impassable.

“The refugees are left almost completely reliant on humanitarian assistance because the area has scarce water and food,” said Julien Matter, MSF emergency coordinator. “The sheer number of refugees fleeing here has grown far beyond anything anyone anticipated. Providing the bare survival essentials now, and over the coming rainy season, will be a serious challenge in such a remote place,” he said.

Newly arriving refugees speak of ongoing bombing and fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile State. While people have sought safety in the Doro and Jamam camps, they have encountered a harsh environment where their ability to survive is stretched to the breaking point.

Photo: South Sudan 2012 © Robin Meldrum/MSF
Refugees in the Jamam camp in South Sudan, after having fled fighting and bombing in Blue Nile State across the border in Sudan.

Mauritania: The Threat of Food Insecurity Looms as Thousands of Malian Refugees Gather in the Desert

More than 28,000 Malian refugees have been forced to seek refuge in the border region of Mauritania due to the conflict between the Malian army and Tuareg rebels that broke out in northern Mali last month. Some refugees travelled days without food to reach makeshift camps in Fassala and Mbéré in the south east of Mauritania.

Today, an initial shipment of more than 28 tons (26 metric tons) of medical and logistical supplies will be flown from Belgium to Néma, about 124 miles (200 kilometers) from Mbéré camp. Doctors Without Borders’ teams are starting medical activities. “We are in the middle of the desert in an area where water is a scarce commodity,” says Marie-Christine Férir, MSF’s emergency coordinator in Mali. “Even more alarming, these people are isolated here: the nearest hospital is six hours away by road.”Photo: Mauritania 2005 © Ibrahim Younis
An MSF staff member conducting a nutritional survey that led to the opening of the feeding center in Néma, near the border with Mali.

Mauritania: The Threat of Food Insecurity Looms as Thousands of Malian Refugees Gather in the Desert

More than 28,000 Malian refugees have been forced to seek refuge in the border region of Mauritania due to the conflict between the Malian army and Tuareg rebels that broke out in northern Mali last month. Some refugees travelled days without food to reach makeshift camps in Fassala and Mbéré in the south east of Mauritania.

Today, an initial shipment of more than 28 tons (26 metric tons) of medical and logistical supplies will be flown from Belgium to Néma, about 124 miles (200 kilometers) from Mbéré camp. Doctors Without Borders’ teams are starting medical activities. “We are in the middle of the desert in an area where water is a scarce commodity,” says Marie-Christine Férir, MSF’s emergency coordinator in Mali. “Even more alarming, these people are isolated here: the nearest hospital is six hours away by road.”

Photo: Mauritania 2005 © Ibrahim Younis An MSF staff member conducting a nutritional survey that led to the opening of the feeding center in Néma, near the border with Mali.