Fluctuating rainfall and the occurrence of drought are intrinsic features of arid and semi-arid lands such as the territory of Djibouti. However, the current drought exceeds normal fluctuations. Insufficient rainfall since 2005 (less than 50% of the normal average recorded since September 2007) has had a direct and life-threatening impact upon the most vulnerable, particularly pastoralists and rural dwellers. This year's drought - the fourth consecutive year of failed rainfall in terms of its quantity and regularity - has led to the depletion of water reserves, deterioration of livestock health and milk production, massive loss of livestock and the resulting destruction of livelihoods and sources of income, increased malnutrition especially among children under five and associated health problems. The global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate among children under five is 20%, according to a rapid assessment in 2010 by the United Nations and the Government of Djibouti. These consequences of drought are inter-related and mutually reinforcing.
In addition to these effects of drought, two separate phenomena affect vulnerable people. First, the increasing violence and instability in south-central Somalia has resulted in increasing numbers of asylum-seekers entering into Djibouti. Since the end of 2009, the number of refugees in the country has risen from 12,083 to 14,490. Second, prices of food staples have remained significantly higher than pre-2008 levels, when international food staple prices soared, though some modest decreases were recorded. The country's resistance to international food price fluctuations is weak as 80% of food products are imported. All these elements have harmed the health of the population and increased the level of malnutrition with reports of outbreaks especially of water-borne diseases such as cholera.
In light of this alarming situation, the present appeal targets the following priority actions for humanitarian assistance over the following twelve months:
- Distribution of food assistance;
- Improvement of access to potable water;
- Rebuilding of essential animal husbandry and agricultural activities;
- Access to basic health services, including those related to prevention and management of cases of acute malnutrition;
- Strengthening the capacities of national institutions in the implementation and coordination of emergency humanitarian relief.
Through the Djibouti Drought Appeal, five agencies seek a total of US$38,999,3381 to work with Governmental partners and targeted communities in addressing emergency humanitarian needs and mitigating further impacts of the drought on some 120,000 people of the most vulnerable groups affected by successive years of worsening drought, coupled with the high food prices on the global market, reduced purchasing powers and the resulting inability of the population to feed itself.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.