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GENEVA - More than a million people could face severe food shortages in Mauritania in the coming months, the Red

Poor harvests caused by drought and rising prices severely reduced the availability of food for many

IFRC launches emergency appeal for almost 1.75 million euros to deal with food crisis in Mauritania.

Cross warned on Thursday as it launched an emergency appeal for almost 1.75 million euros.

Poor harvests caused by drought and rising prices severely reduced the availability of food for many, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said.

Research showed the number of people facing shortages increased from 428,000 to 838,000 between July and November and the organisation predicts the figure could reach 1.2 million by January unless urgent action is taken.

"In some rural areas, the crisis is already there and we must act now before it deteriorates like we saw in the Horn of Africa," said Mohamed Ould Raby, secretary-general of the Mauritanian Red Crescent, referring to the region where famine was declared earlier this year.

The Geneva-based IFRC has appealed for just over 2.13 million Swiss francs (1.75 million euros, $2.26 million) which it says is needed to deal with the food crisis.

Many Sahel countries including Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Chad are also threatened by major food shortages and will need help in the coming months, the body said.

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