22/04/05 (B294) ALERTE du Comité des Nations Unies pour la Coordination des affaires humanitaires : la population rurale de djibouti menacee par la famine (En anglais)(Info lecteur)

Djibouti: Drought OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Ref: OCHA/GVA – 2005/0068

OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Djibouti – Drought

21 April 2005

This situation report is based on information received by the OCHA

Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa in Nairobi from the

UN Country Team in Djibouti.

I. Situation

1. Djibouti is currently facing worsening drought conditions due to the

consequences of two consecutive failed rainy seasons, where erratic

rainfall patterns adversely affected the replenishment of water

catchments and the regeneration of pastures. Delayed rains resulted in

abnormal pastoral migration patterns and a further depletion of already

exhausted pasture and browse in all grazing areas. The rain has also

been insufficient to replenish much-needed water sources throughout the

country and it is below the threshold for pasture regeneration. All

water catchments in the south are practically dry.

2. The food security and livelihoods of 5,000 families (28,650 people)

have been severely compromised by limited water and pasture. Significant

over-grazing of pasture and the depletion of water sources have

contributed to widespread livestock deaths and a considerable decline in

milk productivity. The remaining animals are in bad conditions due

mainly to opportunistic parasites and diseases.

3. Djibouti’s coastal pastures and water sources have also been

overburdened by pastoralists from the neighbouring, drought-affected

countries of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. The border areas of both

Eritrea and Ethiopia have not received a sufficient amount of rainfall

for pasture regeneration and water source replenishment, resulting in

poor food security situation. In particular, cereal prices in Ethiopia

remain unseasonably high and affect the food security in Djibouti, which

remains dependent on Ethiopia for the agricultural produce that

supplements meat and milk in the local diet. Abnormal pastoral

migrations from Shinile in Somalia have also caused overgrazing in the

Djibouti coastal grazing areas.

4. Households in Djibouti generally purchase the food they need. The

income of these households is dependant almost entirely on the health

and productivity of their livestock. Since livestock productivity has

been undermined by the consecutive deteriorating seasons, household

income and food access has been severely constrained.

5. Irregular movements of livestock and people have been observed in

most rural areas and significant numbers of livestock deaths have been

reported. Many households have lost their entire herds and thousands of

people are moving from rural areas to urban centers in search of


II. Immediate Needs

6. The immediate medium and long-term needs identified by the Government

of Djibouti include the following:

      * Logistic support to Office for Assistance to Refugees and

        Disaster Victims (ONARS), the government body in charge of

        emergency interventions.


      * Provision of food assistance to 28,650 people for six months.


      * Implementation of a therapeutic feeding programme for 5,730

        malnourished children under five for six months.


      * Supply of drinkable water to 18,000 drought affected people

        living in the six districts of Djibouti for six months (one

        water tank per district).


      * Construction and/or rehabilitation of 28 water tanks, water

        wells and reservoirs in Arta, Ali-Sabieh, Dikhil, Obock and

        Tadjourah districts with a minimum capacity of 3,200 liters.


      * Provision of 54,000 liters of fuel for 15 boreholes.


      * Medical assistance to 5,000 nomads, who have been made more

        vulnerable by the drought and the presence of opportunistic



      * Provision of veterinary support for 50,000 animals.


      * Provision of feed for 50,000 animals, including 900 tons of

        concentrated animal food and 14,400 tons of fodder.


      * Strengthening of coordination mechanisms, especially with regard

        to logistics support to national disaster management structures.

III. National Response 

7. A preliminary joint assessment mission was carried out from 21 to 25

March by ONARS, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the Famine Early

Warning Systems (FEWSNET). The multi-agency team conducted the

assessment in Somaliland and concluded that livestock conditions in the

coastal areas near Djibouti are worsening mainly because of meagre

pasture, livestock diseases and long trekking distances between water

points and grazing areas.

8. On 9 April, the Government of Djibouti requested support from the

international community for the provision of emergency assistance for

28,650 persons affected by the drought.

9. The government started emergency provision of water to the population

in the Roadside Pastoral Sub-Zone in the southeastern part of the


IV. United Nations Country Team Response (UNCT)

10. The Government of Djibouti has requested international assistance at

this stage. The UN Country Team is preparing an inter-agency Flash

Appeal to respond to immediate and medium-term needs of the drought

affected population.

11. The UN Country Team has met to coordinate its collective response to

the crisis. A second, more comprehensive multi-sectoral and inter-agency

assessment mission is planned for late April. OCHA Regional Support

Office for Central and Eastern Africa has deployed one Humanitarian

Affairs Officer to give short-term technical support to the UN Country


12. In the meantime, both the government and WFP have started to

distribute 421 mt of food aid, equivalent to one month’s full ration.

This will extend the previous general food distribution by one month

until the end of May. WFP has provided about 500 tons of mixed

commodities, totaling USD 215,000. UNICEF has provided USD 20,000 for

the purchase of fuel for generators that operate boreholes in the worst-

affected areas. UNDP has contributed USD 50,000 for coordination

activities, which will include local capacity building.

13. FAO will work with the Djiboutian government to develop an

appropriate strategy for food security and, through its Regional Office

for Africa, will provide expertise for a comprehensive assessment of the

situation for the nomadic pastoralists most affected by this drought.

UNHCR will provide in kind non-food items (e.g. soap and cooking

utensils) and will also release funds for the procurement of any other

priority needs of the affected population and their animals. WHO is

exploring the possibility to set-up mobile clinics to address health

concerns of most-affected persons.

V. Requirements for International Assistance

14. The Government of Djibouti needs:

      * Expertise in appropriate and effective emergency livestock



      * Water, food, and veterinary care for livestock


      * Support for water purification and distribution as well as

        logistics assistance in terms of fuel and spare parts for

        borehole generators and for water tankers


      * Emergency food rations for 28,650 persons for six months


      * Supplementary food for 5,730 children


      * Support for national disaster management structures, and



      * The provision of non-food items, especially containers for

        storing water (e.g. bladder tanks and jerry cans).

This situation report, together with further information on ongoing

emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at


Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34

Fax: +41-22-917 00 23/06 28

E-mail: ochagva@un.org

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:

Ms. Janet Puhalovic, direct tel. +41-22-917 3194

Mr. Marcel Mikala, direct tel. +41-22-917 1729

Press contact:

(GVA) Ms. Elisabeth Byrs, direct tel. +41-22-917 26 53

(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct tel. +1-917 367 51 26