The main issue of humanitarian concern in Djibouti is structural food insecurity. Djibouti is a food-deficit country growing only 5 per cent of its food needs and importing the remaining 95 per cent. The majority of the country is thus extremely food insecure, with a population vulnerable to climatic shocks and increasing food prices. An increasing number of pastoralists are migrating to informal settlements in urban areas (which have very poor standards of hygiene and limited access to clean water) and are unlikely to return to their former way of life.
Djibouti is also disaster-prone, susceptible to flash floods and earthquakes. The country is hosting over 20,000 refugees in Ali Addeh and Holl-Holl refugee camps near the Somali border. Over 80 per cent of refugees in Djibouti are from Somalia.
Despite steady economic development as a result of its strategic location, international military presence and port operations, levels of poverty and economic inequality remain very high across the country.
The Government of Djibouti has the overall responsibility for providing humanitarian assistance within the country through the Secretariat Executif de Gestion des Risque et Catastrophes (SEGRC) under the Ministry of Interior. In 2012, the Government decided to significantly boost the personnel, offices, and related capacities of SEGRC in order to serve as the country’s focal point for disaster management activities as part of efforts to decentralize national management of disasters.
The UN Country Team provides assistance to help meet the needs of vulnerable people living in drought-affected areas. There is a very limited presence of international NGOs. The cluster system is still in development.
In 2012, national contingency planning by the Government and the UN system was underway with a view to merging the plans during the course of 2013.
The UN in Djibouti
In Djibouti, the Resident Representative of UNDP also serves as the UN Resident Coordinator. The Resident Coordinator’s function facilitates and coordinates operational activities and provides leadership and guidance to the UN system in the country. The UN represented by nine resident agencies and two non-resident agencies.