Djibouti is an arid, desert-like country, characterized by low rainfall, extremely limited agricultural production and a heavy reliance on food imports. Approximately 42 percent of the population lives in absolute poverty, mostly in rural areas.
Djibouti is a small nation of fewer than 1 million people, which hosts more than 27,000 refugees, primarily originating from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and, more recently, Yemen. The majority of refugees have resided in camps in Ali Sabieh Region for up to 20 years. Refugees have very limited livelihood opportunities, leaving them vulnerable to food insecurity and dependent on assistance.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) projects that food security conditions will improve somewhat during October–December, as food prices remain stable, livestock body conditions improve and milk production increases with the end of the June–September lean season. This will strengthen household purchasing power and boost the accessibility of food. However, 33,000 people, mostly refugees with limited livelihoods, still depend on emergency food assistance to meet their dietary needs.
An estimated 6,200 children under the age of five and pregnant and lactating women in Djibouti suffer from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition (SAM), and an additional 15,500 require treatment for moderate acute malnutrition, which threatens healthy childhood development. Half of Djibouti’s regions have chronic malnutrition rates over the World Health Organization’s Critical threshold (≥40 percent), risking the longer-term growth of children.