DJIBOUTI CITY, 6 September 2011 – DJIBOUTI CITY, 6 September 2011 – As part of the response to the drought crisis in Djibouti, UNICEF launched a 75-day operation to provide an additional 35,000 people in water-deprived communities throughout the country with safe drinking water.
“Like other countries in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti has been suffering from the impact of recurrent droughts,” says Josefa Marrato, UNICEF Representative in Djibouti. “Needs this year have been particularly acute, and UNICEF has made it a priority to provide safe drinking water for children and their families in vulnerable communities.”
Djibouti is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, with only 150 mm of rainfall a year on average. Nearly half the population in rural areas has no access to safe drinking water.
Though droughts are frequent, this year’s, coupled with an increase in food and fuel prices, has left 120,000 people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Children have been particularly affected: 1 out of 5 is malnourished, making Djibouti proportionally the second most affected country by the crisis in the Horn of Africa.
UNICEF has been responding to the increasing water needs, by supporting water trucking services and providing repair and maintenance equipment for wells and boreholes.
Some 35 areas in Djibouti have no access to safe water. Under the recently launched operation, UNICEF has rented five water trucks which the Ministry of Energy and Water in charge of Natural Resources to strengthen water trucking to these areas for a period of 75 days.
Working with counterparts, UNICEF’s priority is to save and protect children’s lives by providing life-saving supplies to the most deprived.