20 May 2005 12:06:26 GMT
NAIROBI, 20 May (IRIN) – A total of 5,000 mt of food aid is required to meet the critical needs of an estimated 47,000 drought-affected people in Djibouti for the next six months, a famine early warning agency has said.
Those in need included some 9,500 undernourished children, the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS Net) reported in its latest update on Djibouti released on 12 May. About 5,000 other people were in need of urgent medical care, the report added.
Three consecutive failed rainy seasons had led to widespread livestock deaths and a significant decline in milk production, creating serious food insecurity in Djibouti, it said.
On 27 April, the UN issued a flash appeal for US $7.5 million to fund operations to provide food and water to those affected by the drought in the Horn of Africa country.
Around 50,000 heads of livestock required veterinary care and fodder support for three months, FEWS Net noted. Recent intense rainfall, it added, was expected to temporarily improve pasture and water availability, but full recovery would take longer.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in a separate report, said that in the longer term, the government of Djibouti needed support to strengthen its disaster-management capacity.
“The establishment of an emergency food stock is part of the long-term preparedness plan, which should also encompass the strengthening of the information system related to animal marketing in order to better regulate the flux of living animals on traditional trade routes,” OCHA said in the report issued by its Regional Support Office for East and Central Africa.
Livestock restocking for those who had lost their herds, and the development of water points along pastoral routes were required, the OCHA report added.
It said the humanitarian response had started with the government providing emergency water to the population in the Road Pastoral Sub-zone.
Both the government and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) were distributing 421 mt of food aid – equivalent to one month’s full ration – extending the previous general food distribution by one month only until the end of May.
However, major funding shortfalls existed for critical interventions in human health, livestock support services and agriculture, OCHA noted.