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.
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
* 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
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
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
Ms. Janet Puhalovic, direct tel. +41-22-917 3194
Mr. Marcel Mikala, direct tel. +41-22-917 1729
(GVA) Ms. Elisabeth Byrs, direct tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct tel. +1-917 367 51 26
Djibouti: Drought OCHA Situation Report No. 1