Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 05:11:06 +0200 (METDST)
by Abdourazak Ali

GARABTISAN, Djibouti, Aug 21, 2011 (AFP) - Slap bang in the midst of a harsh desert of sun-baked grey rocks in northern Djibouti, the village of Garabtisan has been hit by extreme drought and many children are wasted by malnutrition. Emaciated livestock and animal carcasses dot the sand around the village, which some residents have fled in the wake of a severe drought in the Horn of Africa that has left some 12 million in danger of starvation "We have been badly hit by the drought. You can see the effects. Our animals have been decimated. We don't have water and our children are dying of malnutrition," said Houmed Mohamed, a local elder. A government crisis unit recently distributed food to some 300 families in Garabtisan which is expected to sustain them for the coming weeks. According to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation, 146,000 people in Djibouti are affected by the drought that is also ravaging parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Somlia -- the worst-hit country in the region.

Garabtisan is in one of the hardest-hit regions in the small Red Sea state, with no hospitals and little relief aid coming in. Vegetation has withered and its two water pans dried up. Life here is more than a struggle. Djibouti is mostly arid and has no key industries, but hosts the largest overseas French army barracks and the only US military base in Africa. "It is very difficult to survive in this drought," said Moumina Barkat who recently lost her baby to malnutrition. "We no longer worry about our animals, but about our lives." A mobile medical team has been deployed to the region, but malnutrition seems to be spreading. "There are deaths every day," said Abdourazak Daoud, the administrator of Tadjourah, where Garabtisan is located.

The region's nutrition coordinator Hassan Ismail said the drought has worsened since April. Two seasons of failed rains in the Horn of Africa region have caused the worst drought in decades. "Since April the situation has been deteriorating. The number of children dying of severe malnutrition is rising every day," Ismail said, adding that 30 of the 65 children recently examined in the village were malnourished. "It is true that drought is the first cause. But mostly there is the problem of lack of water supply," added Ismail. Some Garabtisan villagers have fled to Balho near the Ethiopia border in search of water as the borehole there and a healthcare centre for children provide some respite. However, child mortality in Balho remains high, Ismail said. "One of the key causes is water. The borehole water is very salty and that can cause health problems to children and pregnant women," Ismail explained. Fatouma Ali arrived recently arrived in Balho with her two children, one of whom is severely malnourished. "I pray to God every minute to save my young child," she said sadly. "Yesterday I saw some children die."
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2010 15:30:56 +0100 (MET)

GENEVA, Nov 3, 2010 (AFP) - The United Nations on Wednesday launched an appeal for 38.9 million dollars in aid for 120,000 people struck by a five year drought in the east African state of Djibouti.  United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos said many people were unable to feed their families, leaving one fifth of the small country's under fives, or 25,000 children, severely malnourished.   "Successive years of drought have devastated the livelihoods of people in rural Djibouti," Amos added.   Four consecutive years of insufficient rainfall has led to large-scale hunger and killed off 70 percent of the country's cattle, according to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Date: Tue 29 May 2007 Source: Reuters Foundation AlertNet, UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) report [edited] An outbreak of cholera that left 5 people dead in 2 villages in the Tadjourah region of north western Djibouti has been contained, an official with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tue 29 May [2007]. "No new cases have been reported in the area since 18 May [2007]," Djibouti-based WHO medical officer, Karim Djibaoui, told IRIN. Efforts to bring the outbreak under control included setting up emergency treatment centres in the affected areas, providing clean drinking water, and launching a hygiene awareness campaign, he added. About 76 cases of the disease, including the 5 fatalities, had been reported in the area in the first 2 weeks of May 2007. A Djibouti news agency, Agence Djiboutienne D'Information, said local health officials had linked the latest outbreak in Hangade and Balho localities, in Tadjourah, to the use of water from a contaminated well by illegal immigrants. ------------------------------- [The country of Djibouti, located where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden and bordering both Ethiopia and Somalia, can be found on a map of Africa at . - ProMed Mod.LL]
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007 14:49:48 +0200 (METDST) NAIROBI, March 27, 2007 (AFP) - The UN food relief agency said Tuesday that it would from next month halt food aid to some 50,000 people in Djibouti, including thousands of malnourished children, due to a lack of funds. "Malnutrition among children younger than five is in fact a silent emergency in Djibouti but we just don't have the funds to continue providing food for the most vulnerable," said World Food Programme's country director for Djibouti, Benoit Thiry, in a statement. The WFP said it needed six million dollars (4.5 million euros) for operations until December 2007, including one million immediately to avoid stopping distributions from April, just before the start of the dry season when many families face the most severe food shortages. It said it would otherwise have to stop delivering aid to more than 47,000 pastoralist drought victims next month, and from May would no longer be able to feed some 6,000 refugees who rely entirely on food aid. Over the past five years, a series of droughts have hit the country with a tiny population of around 600,000. The most severe was early last year, when rains failed completely, and pastoralist families lost many or all of their animals. Located at the southern end of the Red Sea on the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti is a key staging post between the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal shipping route to the Indian Ocean. It is home to the largest overseas French military base and the only US military base in Africa.
Date: Fri 23 Nov 2007 Source: PR Newswire [edited] The American Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing USD 100 000 in emergency funding to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) for medical supplies and to facilitate an intensive health, sanitation, and hygiene campaign to prevent the further spread of diarrhea in Djibouti. Since January 2007, limited access to safe drinking water and poor sanitation and hygiene conditions led to a surge in diarrhea and cholera in Djibouti, primarily affecting Djibouti city and nearby Dikhil and Tadjourah districts, according to the Djibouti Ministry of Health. A total of 3 surges in reported cases of diarrhea and cholera in January, April, and September 2007 have drained the resources of local government and relief agencies to adequately respond. The ministry reported more than 1000 diarrhea cases since early September 2007 and reports over 40 new cases per day. --------------------------------- [A map of Djibouti in northeastern Africa can be found at . - ProMed Mod.LL]
More ...