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Zai

Zai

A young woman from Woura Farba in the Gorgol province of Mauritania has been working on digging zaïs. Due to rainfall deficit and failed harvests in the past year, the Sahel region is undergoing an increasingly severe drought. Half-lines, Zaï (holes to facilitate water infiltration and increase soil moisture) for future crops. The project is financed by the European Union.

Story Summary: In Mauritania the drought induced food crisis is affecting over 700,000 people, including 350,000 children under 18. Aid agencies are projecting that this year alone (2012) over 12,000 children could suffer from severe acute malnutrition and many are in danger of dying. According to UNICEF, 200,000 children in Mauritania are malnourished and poor nutrition is the underlying cause of half of all child mortality in the country. Located in the arid Sahel region of West Africa, Mauritania is among the world's least developed food-deficit countries, ranked 159 out of 187 countries on the 2011 UNDP Human Development Index. With 42 percent of the population living below the poverty line, Mauritania is one of the poorest countries in the world, characterized by vast tracts of desert and scarce water sources.