Much of the food aid for drought-stricken West Africa has gone to malnourished children. Now more aid is arriving to protect their nutritional gains.

Counterpart International has just completed the distribution of 112.5 metric tons of bulgur, lentils and vegetable oil to 3,688 families of malnourished children in response to the food crisis in Mauritania.

The purpose of the food “is to make sure that the malnourished children get the appropriate ration needed,” says Josephine Trenchard, Counterpart’s Senegal-based regional coordinator for Africa. “With the extra food, the rest of the family will not stretch that ration.”

This distribution is added to the regular food rations for 4,979 moderately malnourished children enrolled in Counterpart’s health and nutrition program. The newly arrived aid is about enough to feed a household of five for 60 days so the households won’t decrease the rations of malnourished children to feed other family members during the food crisis.

The food for the “protection rations,” as they are called, is imported and purchased through funding by the U.S. Agency for International Development in conjunction with the Mauritanian EMEL (hope) emergency program. It went to households in the communes, or administrative districts, of Laouessi, Guller, Libheir, Foum Gleita, Touil Lehreijatt and Khabou.

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