MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Djibouti
© UNICEF Djibouti/2004/Pirozzi
A girl participates in a school event in Balbala, on the outskirts of Djibouti’s capital city. Persistent drought, food insecurity and conflict in neighbouring countries continue to threaten the welfare of the country’s children and women.
Children and women in crisis
Food and water, intimately interlinked, cannot be taken for granted in Djibouti. Rainfall since September 2007 has been less than half the normal average1 and the drought has tested the population’s ability to adequately feed itself. As the country’s children and women face parched earth and extreme undernutrition, an influx of refugees from conflict in neighbouring Somalia further stretches resources and government capacity. In Djibouti, 120,000 people – 15 per cent of the population – are already experiencing a crushing lack of food, health care, nutrition support, drinking water and sanitation facilities. The number of asylum seekers in Djibouti increased by 20 per cent over the last year, to some 14,500 by late 2010.2
Meeting urgent needs and building resilience in 2011
UNICEF, together with the Government of Djibouti, NGOs and partners, will help improve the well-being of 120,000 people affected by drought and other hardships, including 5,000 women and 25,000 girls and 29,000 boys, in the following ways:
- Management of undernutrition will be strengthened within 40 health centres with the scaling up of a community-based approach, and blanket feeding will be implemented in 10 health centres.
- Nearly 25,000 children aged 6–59 months will stay healthier after receiving essential vaccines and immunizations, and 15,000 children will receive deworming tablets.
- 30 clean water sources will be rehabilitated and expanded. Hygiene promotion campaigns will help people in the northern and western regions adopt healthier practices.
- 10,000 orphans and vulnerable children will receive social service packages (access to school, conditional cash transfers for food consumption and vocational training for school dropouts); additionally, a drop-in centre will cater to the needs of 500 street children.
- Around 42,000 adolescents will be able to better protect themselves from HIV by using essential information provided through community mobilization, capacity building and communication for development.
Humanitarian funding at work: Highlights from 2010
By late 2010, UNICEF had made significant achieve-ments in nutrition, health, sanitation and hygiene, as well as improvements in education and the welfare of children. Some 70 per cent of children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition were enrolled into the country’s 20 therapeutic feeding centres and 30 community therapeutic centres. About 75 per cent of families in affected areas benefited from rehabilitated drinking-water sources and increased hygiene supplies. Social services helped protect and support 700 vulnerable and orphaned children, all of whom received clothing. Out of the 700, only 461 children go to school; they received school kits and have access to tutoring. Forty-seven benefit from vocational training. And 195 children living on the streets gained access to a safe, child-friendly environment with adequate sanitation.
Funding requirements for 2011
In 2010, the UN system in Djibouti launched a US$39 million Drought Appeal, covering the period from October 2010 to October 2011. This Appeal includes nearly US$4.8 million for nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene interventions carried out by UNICEF. In line with this, UNICEF is requesting US$4,255,000 for its 2011 humanitarian work in Djibouti to respond to the increasing needs of the population affected by persistent drought, food insecurity and conflicts in neighbouring countries. Without funding for the key activities described above, the shortfall of food, water and safe housing will continue to threaten the welfare of Djibouti’s children and women.
1 United Nations, ‘Djibouti Drought Appeal’, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, New York and Geneva, 2010, p. 1.
UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2011 (in US dollars) Total $4,255,000