Map of Djibouti
UNICEF photo: Children and women queue to receive water at a UNICEF-supported distribution point in Bouldougo, a slum area on the outskirts of Djibouti City, the capital. © UNICEF Djibouti/2012/Najwa Mekki Children and women queue to receive water at a UNICEF-supported distribution point in Bouldougo, a slum area on the outskirts of Djibouti City, the capital.


In 2014, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children under five years access micronutrient supplementation


women and children under 5 receive insecticide treated bed nets


emergency-affected people access safe water as per agreed standards

2014 Requirements: US$5,000,000

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Humanitarian situation


Total affected population: 506,450
Total affected children: 202,616

Total people to be reached in 2014: 405,160
Total children to be reached in 2014: 81,032

In the Middle East and North Africa, Djibouti is among the lowest performing countries on most child well-being indicators. Throughout the country, children are driven into food insecurity by recurrent drought, rising food prices, high unemployment (60 per cent in rural areas) and extreme poverty (42 per cent living in absolute poverty).1  The latest data on rainfall confirm that the drought will persist for a seventh year, with a deterioration of the situation in western Djibouti.2 Recent estimates of food insecurity place the region of Obock at stage IV (emergency), and those of Arta and Dikhil at stage III (crisis). Malnutrition affects over 20,000 children under-five.3 The global acute malnutrition rate is 17.8 per cent and 5.7 per cent of children suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Both of these prevalence rates are above the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency thresholds. In addition, Djibouti hosts over 23,000 refugees, predominately from Somalia, including 21,000 people living in two refugee camps.4 The country has become a transit point for approximately 100,000 migrants en route to Yemen and the Arab Peninsula, whose use of existing social services puts extra pressure on already limited capacities. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of migrants has increased during the first half of 2014, with the percentage of migrant children among them increasing to 15 per cent. Many of these children end up begging in Djibouti-city, and are exposed to violence and exploitation. Tightened security measures following the deadly attack on a restaurant in Djibouti claimed by the terrorist group of Al-Shabaab in May 2014, have resulted in the arrests of scores of migrants and street children. During the first half of 2014, Djibouti registered a severe malaria epidemic (4,290 cases), the highest in years. In June, the outbreak of measles in Dikhil (9 cases, including 6 under-five children) raised additional health concerns.5

Humanitarian strategy

2014 Revised Programme Targets


  • 4,889 children under 5 with SAM admitted to therapeutic feeding programme
  • 60,914 children under 5 receive micronutrient supplements


  • 4,779 children under 5 immunized for measles
  • 27,000 women and children under 5 receive insecticide treated bed nets


  • 52,000 emergency-affected people provided with access to safe water as per agreed standards
  • 68,000 children and women receive critical WASH related information to prevent child illness

Child Protection

  • 154 street children benefit from a social services package
  • 245 vulnerable and children benefit from basic school education


  • 4,000 school-aged children access quality education


  • 500 out-of-school adolescents and youth from refugee populations benefit from life skills training and HIV prevention messages

In response to the chronic cycles of drought and malnutrition in Djibouti, stronger links must be forged between long-term development programming and emergency response to mitigate the impacts on children and build the resilience of affected communities. Emergency response should also address the chronic malnutrition issues that exist in specific areas. Through the remainder of 2014, UNICEF will continue to link the humanitarian response to the Horn of Africa drought with long-term development approaches through disaster risk reduction initiatives. This will include streamlining enhanced preparedness for rapid response in all sectors, and emphasizing education and health. UNICEF will also continue to play a key role in improving the coordination of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and nutrition clusters and identifying the needs and priorities of the most vulnerable populations in rural areas and suburban parts of Djibouti City. Taking into consideration the increasing number of migrant children, UNICEF has joined the task force on mixed migration in partnership with UNHCR and IOM, and will push for its revitalisation. UNICEF will also continue to support the basic and secondary education of refugee children, along with basic school education services for street and vulnerable children. In partnership with Caritas Djibouti, UNICEF will continue to provide children, primarily from urban refugee families, with a package of services including access to non-formal education, feeding, health, leisure, sensitization on drug prevention, birth registration, vocational training, etc. Community leaders (men, women and youth) from refugee camps, will be integrated in the community-based child protection network and benefit from training on child protection, gender-based violence and disaster risk reduction, to strengthen their abilities to protect and reduce the vulnerability of children and women. This training will also be an opportunity to engage communities in preparedness activities. UNICEF has also identified a partner non-governmental organization working with refugee populations, and will support HIV/AIDS prevention activities to benefit 500 adolescents and youth, using a life skills approach.

Results 2014 (January to June)

From January to June, 2014, UNICEF enabled an estimated 14,000 people affected by water scarcity to benefit from the construction and rehabilitation of eight water points and distribution of water treatment products. UNICEF also supported awareness-raising sessions to promote improved hygiene practices, reaching 18,000 vulnerable people in all the regions of the country. With the support of UNICEF and WHO, the Ministry of Health conducted a rapid mop-up campaign to respond to the measles outbreak, vaccinating 470 children and is investigating all 9 cases registered. In addition, 25,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito-nets were distributed to children under 5 and pregnant women living in malaria-prone zones. In nutrition, UNICEF supported the treatment of 3,911 severely malnourished children with therapeutic milk, and/or ready-to-use therapeutic foods and essential drugs at 40 health facilities and 35 community sites. In education, UNICEF financed the rehabilitation of classrooms in one of the two refugee camps, providing furniture and teaching materials, benefiting 3,500 children with access to primary education. Efforts are being exerted to improve quality and ensure better alignment with the standards of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). With UNICEF support, a secondary school was created for the first time in a refugee camp, giving 22 refugee children the possibility to pursue their education. UNICEF also established and equipped a temporary school in a rural underserved area giving 100 children the possibility to attend school for the first time (the village was born as a result of the displacement of drought-affected population a few years ago, and had no education services available). As for child protection, with UNICEF support, 154 street children benefited from an integrated package of social services, and 245 vulnerable and street children were given access to a basic literacy programme. Life-skills and HIV prevention activities with adolescents in refugee camps were delayed due to the need to identify a new partner (the previous one is no longer operating in the camp). UNICEF established a new partnership with the Lutheran World Foundation, and activities will start to be implemented in the second half of the year.

Funding requirements

In line with Djibouti’s inter-agency 2014 Strategic Response Plan, UNICEF appealed for US$5 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in 2014. As of 30 June 2014, a total of US$3,086,914 (62 per cent) was available against the appeal, including funds carried over from 2013. UNICEF is seeking additional humanitarian funds to support the continuation of key nutrition interventions, including the provision of therapeutic food and other nutritional supplements for the affected population, and the provision of major WASH activities that facilitate access to potable water and sanitation facilities in rural and in suburban areas. Additional funding would also support the ongoing provision of basic formal and non-formal education services, opportunities for accessing secondary education, capacity building efforts for child protection and HIV prevention work for refugee adolescents and youth

1 Reported in the 2012 Djibouti Household Survey, Round 3.
2 From March to May 2014, rainfall levels in Dikhil and Obock have been 17.6 and 21 per cent lower, respectively, than during the same period last year, Rapport de l’Agence Nationale de Météorologie de Djibouti, Juin 2014.
3 Ministry of Health, Government of Djibouti, Enquête Nutritionnelle Nationale avec la Methodologie SMART, UNICEF and European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), December 2013.
4 2014 UNHCR country operations profile for Djibouti,, accessed 8 May 2014).
5 National Health System monthly monitoring reports from January to June 2014.