Djibouti: UNICEF launches scheme to provide safe drinking water

7 September 2011

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has begun a 75-day operation to provide thousands of Djiboutians with safe drinking water as the country continues to suffer from the drought gripping much of the Horn of Africa.

As many as 35,000 people across the country will receive water as part of the operation, according to a press release issued yesterday by UNICEF.

Five water trucks have been rented from the Government and UNICEF will use the vehicles to deliver water to 35 selected areas that do not have reliable access to safe water. The agency is also providing repair and maintenance equipment for wells and boreholes.

Djibouti is one of the world’s most arid States, with an average of just 150 millimetres of rainfall each year and frequent droughts.

But the current drought has been especially harsh, and one in five Djiboutian children is now classified as malnourished. UNICEF said this makes the country the second most affected – after Somalia – by the current crisis in the Horn of Africa.

“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,” said Josefa Marrato, the agency’s representative in Djibouti.

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