UNICEF Djibouti Humanitarian Situation Report No. 1: Flood Response 25/11/2019 (Reporting Period: 21 to 26 November 2019)

from UN Children's Fund
Published on 26 Nov 2019


  • Djibouti suffered three days of heavy rains and floods affecting the entire country to varying degrees.

  • Djibouti city and its suburbs have been heavily impacted. Initial estimates indicate that over 30,000-40,000 families (150,000-250,000 people) have been somewhat affected by the floods. Unconfirmed reports put the death toll at 9, including 6 children.

  • Families accommodated in schools and community development centres during the first days were moved back to their homes on 25th November.

  • Without a rapid response and investment in infrastructure, flood-affected families will be exposed to morbidity and mortality due to the high risk of water- and mosquito-borne diseases and children’s return of children to school could be seriously delayed if schools are not fully cleaned and subsequently rehabilitated. Efforts by the Ministry of Education are aimed at reopening most schools by Sunday December 1.

Funding Overview and Partnerships

UNICEF is appealing for US$1.5 million to sustain the provision of life-saving services for women and children in Djibouti. Without this additional funding, children and their families will be exposed to risk of disease and mortality and education services in affected areas will be severely disrupted.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Between 21st and 23rd November, Djibouti suffered three days of heavy rains and floods affecting the entire country to varying degrees. Reports indicate that between 21 and 24 November, almost 300mm of rain were recorded in Djibouti city alone, or over three times the annual average. Intermittent rain albeit with reduced intensity - is expected to continue through Wednesday 27 November.

According to initial government estimates, in Djibouti city alone, over 30,000-40,000 families (150,000-250,000 people), including 60,000 children and 16,200 children under five have been somewhat affected by the floods. Reportedly 9 people (7 children) have been killed.

Reports indicate that between 21 and 24 November, almost 300mm of rain were recorded in Djibouti city alone, or over three times the annual average. Dwellings, shops, schools, and infrastructure have been damaged. In some neighborhoods, access to electricity was also interrupted.

The regions are also likely to be affected, particularly the northern regions which also suffered heavy downpours. The information available to date indicates that at least 300 families are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Tadjourah region alone. The recently inaugurated Tadjourah-Balho road and the road between Djibouti and Tadjourah suffered severe damage. Several roads have also been cut off, making access to the affected population difficult. A bridge in the Arta area (PK53) is in danger of collapsing. According to initial reports from implementing partners, Ali Addeh refugee settlement has also been affected with at least 43 families displaced from their residence.

An initial assessment by the Ministry of Education has indicated a total of 11 schools are flooded, including severe damage to sanitation facilities. The precise extent of the damage will be known once a full assessment is carried out. The schools that have been hosting displaced families obviously require urgent cleaning in order to make them ready for reopening on Sunday, 1st December.

A drop-in centre providing basic social services to vulnerable children has also been severely damaged, putting children at risk of violence and abuse, as they are no longer able to access services.

Unfavourable weather conditions over the past days mean that there has not yet been a formal assessment, so figures on the number of affected populations are likely to change over the coming days as rapid assessments will be carried out.

The Government has deployed internal resources and opened 15 support centers for the victims (schools and Community Development Centers) which are now hosting the most vulnerable, particularly women, children and elderly. The civil protection, Water and Sanitation Department (ONEAD), Djibouti Mayor Office, Djibouti Prefecture and the armed forces have immediately deployed to pump the water out of the flooded areas. The Ministry of Social Affairs distributed some 3,500 meals a day to the evacuees, with the Djibouti Mayor’s Office. The Government has also activated a toll-free number (1516) for the victims to report problems and seek assistance.

On 25th November, the Government announced that families being accommodated in shelters (schools and community development centres) would have to leave the shelters by 15:00 local time and return to their homes. This means that families will require immediate assistance in their homes as they will be exposed to the risk of transmission of waterborne and mosquito-borne diseases (in the context of pre-existing malaria and chikungunya epidemics), acute respiratory infections as well as requiring support to purchase food, household necessities/NFIs.