UN food agency moves from relief to recovery in Djibouti

UN food agency moves from relief to recovery in Djibouti

Huts in Andoli, village in northern Djibouti
Aiming to help pastoralists hit by drought in Djibouti, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today it is gradually transitioning from emergency assistance to Food for Work projects in the country.

Aiming to help pastoralists hit by drought in Djibouti, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today it is gradually transitioning from emergency assistance to Food for Work projects in the country.

“The shift aims at leaving permanent structures for pastoralists in most projects in partnership with the Government and other UN agencies,” said WFP Djibouti Country Director Benoit Thiry.

Food for Work projects involve WFP, other organizations and the Government contracting local communities to build lasting infrastructure such as gardens and wells that will help them cope with droughts.

Some 5,600 Food for Work participants will receive a five-person family ration in exchange for their work, according to the agency.

At the peak of the last lean season in September 2006, when food from the last harvest ran out, a fifth of the population of Djibouti lacked adequate food, WFP said.

This year, without assistance, many people will be forced to move to Djibouti city, where they lose their pastoralist lifestyle and are often forced to dwell in the spreading slums on the outskirts of the capital. “We are trying to help those who want to stay in rural areas by improving water access and gardens,” said Mr. Thiry.

Despite shifting from free food distributions to Food For Work programmes, WFP will still maintain a contingency food stock in Djibouti to use in case of an emergency. Assistance to refugees from Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia, school feeding and food for nutritional centres will continue.