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Map of Djibouti
UNICEF photo: a mother holds two children, one receives a package of therapeutic food © UNICEF/Irby/5340 Girl affected by severe acute malnutrition receiving therapeutic food from community-health worker in Ali-Addeh refugee camp, May 2016.


In 2017, UNICEF and partners plan for:
At least 5,665

children under 5 suffering from SAM admitted for treatment


people gained access to safe water per agreed standards


refugee children from Ali Addeh and Holl Holl camps enrolled in school

2017 Requirements: US$1,640,000

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Total people in need: 244,9201
Total children (<18) in need: 133,0952

Total people to be reached in 2017: 48,040
Total children to be reached in 2017: 41,110

Malnutrition continues to threaten children’s lives in Djibouti and is either directly or indirectly linked to 40 per cent of all under-five deaths.3 Nearly one in every three children is stunted, 17.8 per cent of children are suffering from global acute malnutrition (GAM)4 and 5,963 children under five (5.7 per cent of incidence and prevalence of GAM) are suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).5 The drought that began in 2007 has persisted for nine consecutive years, severely eroding household coping mechanisms. In rural areas, 76 per cent of people practice open defecation and 35 per cent lack access to safe water.6 More than 20 per cent of the population lacks access to health care services.7 Children’s vulnerability to diseases is on the rise, with inadequate immunization coverage, the ongoing movement of migrants and the continuing refugee influx (mainly from Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen) intensifying the risk of epidemics. During the fourth quarter of 2016, 7,000 Ethiopians sought asylum in Djibouti, and as of end of May 2017, 27,011 refugees and asylum seekers were hosted in-country, of whom 73 per cent are children and women.8 Refugees are suffering distress associated with the war and difficult living conditions. In urban areas, many migrant and street children cannot access basic social services and are exposed to violence and abuse.

Humanitarian strategy

2017 programme targets


  • At least 5,665 children under 5 suffering from SAM admitted for treatment
  • 31,392 children under 5 provided with vitamin A supplements


  • 5,000 children aged 6 to 59 months immunized against measles
  • 15,000 children under 5 affected by acute watery diarrhoea accessing treatment


  • 5,000 people gained access to safe water per agreed standards
  • 1,000 people gained access to adequate sanitation in drought-affected areas

Child protection

  • 500 migrant and refugee children receiving community-based child protection services, including psychosocial support
  • 100 per cent of unaccompanied refugee children benefit from risk awareness activities


  • 6,800 refugee children from Ali Addeh and Holl Holl camps enrolled in school
  • 766 Yemeni refugee children from Markazi Camp and urban areas enrolled in school

In order to address chronic emergencies, UNICEF is transitioning its humanitarian response strategy toward longer-term development. In collaboration with the Government and partners, UNICEF will focus on reinforcing resilience capacities to cope with crisis and strengthening of social systems. More specifically, support is being provided to enhance sustainable access to quality basic social services (health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and protection) for local communities and emergency-affected populations. In regions with high prevalence rates of SAM and above emergency thresholds of GAM, UNICEF continues to provide humanitarian support through the provision of therapeutic services to affected children. UNICEF’s humanitarian response prioritizes the needs of refugees and migrants, particularly of unaccompanied and separated children, education for refugee children and the prevention and rapid responses to acute watery diarrhea and potential cholera outbreak. Additionally, UNICEF will support the implementation of a polio campaign to mitigate against high risk and impact of outbreaks, particularly given the considerable movement of nomadic populations along the Somalian and Ethiopian borders, coupled with the already limited capacity of the health system.

Results from 2017

As of 30 June 2017, UNICEF has received 28 per cent (US$461,885) of its revised appeal of US $1.64 million. A total of 2,566 children under the age of five suffering from SAM were admitted for treatment. In addition 29,513 children (6-59 months) have received vitamin A supplements. Some 5000 cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) from Action Contre la Faim (ACF) was donated to the National Nutrition Programme to complement UNICEF support for the treatment of SAM cases. As such the budget for nutrition response is reduced while planned targets remain unchanged. Approximatively 602 people living along the migration routes and affected by drought now have enhanced access to sanitation facilities while 40 emergency latrines and 40 showers were rehabilitated for the benefit of newly-arrived refugees. Some 360 newly arrived refugee families benefited from the distribution of WASH non-food items (NFIs). In urban centres, 750 migrants and vulnerable children (371 girls) were enrolled in non-formal schools while 3,750 children (46 per cent females) attended school in refugee camps. Additionally, 139 (23 girls) unaccompanied and separated children were placed in foster families within host communities. Ninety per cent of the 700 newly-arrived children from Ethiopia have received psychosocial support in Ali-Addeh camp. Among of them, 139 are unaccompanied minors. Approximately 4,000 children under five suffering from acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) have received Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and zinc supplementation with UNICEF support. Other partners have supported the needs of 20,000 additional children.

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Funding requirements

UNICEF is adjusting its strategy to support populations facing chronic emergencies by transitioning from humanitarian response to longer term development programming implemented through the UNICEF country programme and funded by Other Regular Resources (ORR). UNICEF’s targets for humanitarian response in the areas of WASH, education and protection are therefore reduced while sector targets per the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan remain unchanged. UNICEF’s nutrition response is also benefiting from in-kind donations that are provided by international NGOs to the Government which was not initially planned. UNICEF remains committed to ensure continuous treatment of the expected caseload. Subsequently, UNICEF has revised its requirement from US$3.4 million to US$1.6 million.

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1 Djibouti Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), 2017.
2 Ibid.
3 2013-2017 Health system development plan.
4 SMART Nutrition Survey 2013.
5 Ibid.
6 WASH Joint Monitoring Programme Report (WHO/UNICEF), 2015.
7 Health National Information System, 2015.
8 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Monitoring Database.