© 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:

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.

More information on achievements of 2010 and the humanitarian action planned for Djibouti in 2011 can be found at www.unicef.org/hac2011 or on the country office website at www.unicef.org/djibouti.

1 United Nations, ‘Djibouti Drought Appeal’, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, New York and Geneva, 2010, p. 1.
2 Ibid.

UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2011 (in US dollars) Total $4,255,000