© UNICEF/NYHQ2006-0199/Kamber

Children collect water from a UNICEF-provided well in a remote, mountainous village in the drought-ravaged Tadjoura District. Over 47 per cent of the population has limited access to safe drinking water.


The nationwide nutrition survey conducted in October/November 2007 showed an alarming level of global acute malnutrition (GAM) in children under age five of 16.8 per cent as well as a rate of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) of 2.4 per cent, with some 20,000 children under age five requiring supplementary feeding and 5,000 requiring therapeutic feeding. Although the case fatality rate among severely malnourished children dropped from 11 per cent in 2006 to 5.3 per cent by end June 2008, the coverage remains insufficient, as less than 40 per cent of children under age five suffering acute malnutrition are currently treated. The coverage of accelerated child survival interventions and care to pregnant/lactating women remain limited to urban areas. Child protection interventions for highly vulnerable children are also weak.

Scarcity of water in this semi-desert country is mainly due to poor quality water and difficult access to available resources essentially abstracted from groundwater (more than 95 per cent). In rural areas, 47.5 per cent of people do not have access to a protected source of drinking water out of which at least 30 per cent resort to unprotected sources not conform to minimum sanitary requirements. Only 18.1 per cent have access to improved sanitation.


UNICEF is the cluster leader for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and is working closely with the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC) in support of the national nutrition programme. UNCIEF will focus on lifesaving interventions for about 108,000 children under age five and 90,000 mothers.

Nutrition: UNICEF will procure supplies for the treatment of 15,000 moderately and 3,000 severely malnourished children, aiming to reduce the case fatality rate below 5 per cent; and scale up the case management of moderate and severe acute malnutrition from about 10,000 to 20,000 children.

Health: UNICEF will ensure that more than 90 per cent of children under age five benefit from a package of high-impact health interventions. The routine expanded programme on immunization (EPI) will be strengthened through supplementary immunization activities (providing vaccination supplies, reinforcing district-level capacity, undertaking social mobilization and promoting community-based approaches).

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: UNICEF will provide WASH emergency assistance to about 55,000 people through the following activities: conduct emergency assessment in order to further guide the detail of UNICEF’s emergency response; continue to provide 30 locations with safe water through water-trucking assistance (mainly fuel) covering upwards of 25,000 people; deepen and protect 100 existing traditional wells; construct 20 underground cisterns for domestic use and watering stock; construct 25 new wells and 15 boreholes; procure 100 handpumps, water testing kits and solar equipments; and supply plastic barrels for storage and clean use of safe water for 1,000 households.

Child Protection: UNICEF will scale up accelerated child survival interventions and improve care provided to pregnant/lactating mothers by extending assistance to rural areas; and reach orphaned and other vulnerable children with child protection activities.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2009*
Sector US$
Health 1,024,334
Nutrition 500,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 4,253,348
Child Protection 200,000
Total** 5,977,682

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other, underfunded emergencies.
** The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.