WFP launches emergency operation to feed drought-affected in Djibouti

Rome -- The United Nations World Food Programme has approved a $2.7 million emergency operation to feed 100,000 people affected by an on-going drought in Djibouti, officials of the food agency announced today.
"Drought symptoms are clearly evident in all areas of the country," said Sanda Maina, WFP Country Representative in Djibouti. "Little rain has left watering holes at dangerously low levels and livestock has died either because there is a lack of pasture land or because it's drastically deteriorating."

The influx of nomadic families into the city shows their growing desperation, he added. "In the districts of Ali-Sabieh and Dikhil, the situation is made even more difficult by the presence of displaced people from Somalia and Ethiopia."

WFP's operation, which is expected to run through the middle of June, will distribute over 6,000 metric tons of food aid to needy people in the drought-affected areas. WFP will provide a food basket including cereal, vegetable oil, sugar, salt and blended food. The Government's Office for Assistance to Refugees and Disaster Victims (ONARS) will be responsible for the distribution of the food while project monitoring will be conducted by WFP.

"We're implementing this emergency operation just in time to prevent widespread suffering," said Maina.

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The World Food Programme is the United Nations' front-line agency in the fight against global hunger. In 1999, WFP fed more than 86 million people in 82 countries - more than half were girls and women. This included 27 million school age children and 13 million infants under 5 years of age in schoolfeeding and health programmes, plus 5.3 million internally displaced people and 3.2 million refugees affected by war and civil strife.

For press inquires, please contact:

Sanda Maina
Country Representative, WFP/ Djibouti
Tel. 253 353-422

Jeff Rowland
Public Information Officer, WFP/Rome
Tel. 39 06 6513-2971