Mauritania is at risk to hydrometeorological hazards and natural disasters. Climate change is expected to increase risks and severity of natural disasters in Mauritania, through more intense temperatures, prolonged heat waves and heightened rainfall variability. While Mauritania is prone to drought and flooding in some areas, human displacement and increased urbanization may become an additional future challenge. Furthermore, damage to crops and increased water stress is likely to result in significant economic losses, damage to agricultural lands as well as human health. Vulnerability is exacerbated due to the country’s high level of poverty and high dependence on ‘climate change sensitive’ sectors, such as agriculture, fisheries, mining and livestock.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. And it allows quick evaluation of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.
Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals.
This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.
- Mauritania’s southern areas are classified at high risk for river flooding due to heavy rainfall interspersed with increased aridity. Flash flooding is also considered likely
- The country is at risk to water scarcity due to the projected increased variability of runoff and river flows, increased temperatures resulting in increased evaporation of surface waters and reduced runoff, increased competition over reduced water resources as well as limited infrastructure.
- Extreme heat is an existing challenge for the country and one that is projected to get increasingly worse. The entire country is ranked at high-risk for extreme heat.
- Mauritania is ranked as high risk for coastal flooding due sea level rise and increased vulnerability as the majority of its population residing along coastal areas.
- Data from the Emergency Events database (EM-Dat) (1900-2018) shows the country has endured various natural hazards, including droughts, epidemic diseases, insect infestation and storms, affecting over 11.5 million people.
- Highly variable rainfall, coupled with the arid nature of the country, are responsible for acute droughts that continue to limit agricultural production. Mauritania has experienced severe droughts over the past 30 years, affecting thousands of people across the country.
- The decrease in rainfall over the years has resulted in various adverse ecological, economic, social and cultural consequences. Food harvests and livestock have continuously shrunk due to lessening and unpredictable rainfall.
- Violent winds blow hot and dry dust and sand that sweep across many parts of the country. More than 15 kilometers of the coastal bar was reported to be have been destroyed by wind erosion.
- Increasing sea level rise and flooding may increase coastal erosion, affecting settlements, and are expected to increase saline intrusion, which may affect groundwater, Infrastructure and ecosystems along the coast.
- Changes in sea levels are projected to increase land area inundation, which may adversely impact population settlements, crop productivity, coastal erosion and biological diversity.
- Higher temperatures might lead to higher levels of water consumption for agricultural use and households, and may lead to further depletion of already constrained available freshwater resources.