Humanitarian Action for Children 2012


© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1353/Mekki

Children and women queue for water at a UNICEF-supported distribution point in a slum area near Djibouti City. The country is one of the most water-scarce in the world and one of the worst-affected by the Horn of Africa drought.

Update: CAP Mid-Year Review


Children and Women in Crisis

Some 120,000 people living in the northwest, central and south-eastern parts of Djibouti are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, largely due to five consecutive years of drought and six consecutive years of rainfall deficit. The 2011 July–September Karan/Karma rains have been below average in intensity and spatial distribution, and ineffective in regenerating pastures and water points. This situation, coupled with the rise of staple food prices, has drastically deteriorated the coping mechanisms of the most vulnerable women and children. Additionally, Djibouti City faces a critical shortage of water. The country’s children and women are vulnerable to food insecurity and extreme undernutrition. There is also an influx of refugees from Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen, with an estimated 500 refugees arriving every month.1 There are currently about 17,000 refugees in camps, many among them children, women and elderly often arriving in poor health and nutritional status.2 In Djibouti, 210,000 people – including 120,000 people in rural areas, 60,000 people in urban areas and 30,000 refugees – are in need of assistance.3

Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012

UNICEF provides leadership for the nutrition and WASH clusters in Djibouti. UNICEF will continue to work with the Government of Djibouti, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and partners in 2012 to respond to the needs of 180,000 people affected by drought and other hardships, especially women and children, out of which 7,500 women, 37,500 girls and 43,500 boys have already been identified as needing immediate assistance. Given current trends, the numbers of women and children needing assistance during the course of the next 12 months are likely to increase.

Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011

As of end October 2011, UNICEF had received US$3,934,765 – or 73 per cent – of the requested US$5,405,000 for its programmes in Djibouti. This funding enabled UNICEF to achieve key results for women and children. UNICEF supported more than 80 per cent of a total of 6,000 children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition in enrolling in one of 40 health centres and 30 community therapeutic centres. An estimated 96,000 persons in affected areas benefited from rehabilitated drinking-water sources and increased hygiene supplies. UNICEF provided social services that helped to protect and support 700 orphans and other vulnerable children. Furthermore, the conditional cash transfer programme helped to improve the nutritional and educational status of 700 orphans and vulnerable children affected by drought and rising food prices. Among these children, 515 received school kits, access to tutoring and vocational training for out-of-school youth.  UNICEF supported 7 early child centres for 300 vulnerable, displaced children 3 to 5 years old. In addition, 200 street children received nutrition in safe, child-friendly spaces equipped with WASH facilities.

Funding Requirements for 2012

UNICEF is requesting US$8,390,000 for its 2012 humanitarian work in Djibouti, in order 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. This amount is aligned with the 2012 Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) requirements.

More information on humanitarian action planned for 2012 can be found at and the country office website at

1 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘Response to the Somali Displacement Crisis into Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, 2011’, UNHCR, Donor Relations and Resource Mobilization Service, Geneva, July 2011, p. 8.
2 U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Drought in the Horn of Africa: Children in crisis – A proposal, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, New York, August 2011, p. 7.
3 Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture, ‘GIEWS Country Brief: Djibouti’, Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, 4 November 2011.