DJIBOUTI – The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Food for Peace has released the first tranche of its US$4 million contribution in 2013 to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for the Republic of Djibouti. This emergency assistance is destined primarily to assist rural populations who are experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity due to drought.
USAID/Food for Peace was able to assist immediately to replenish WFP’s stocks of yellow split peas and vegetable oil because the USAID food assistance commodities warehouse for the region is located in Djibouti. The remaining food items are being purchased by the Office of Food for Peace for Djibouti, and are expected to arrive in November 2013.
“This contribution will be absolutely vital in meeting the humanitarian needs of Djibouti’s rural poor, whose ability to cope has been battered by several years of drought,” said WFP Acting Country Director Imed Khanfir. “It’s especially crucial to receive this support now, as July is the start of the three-month lean season.”
The U.S Government works closely with the Government of Djibouti to address food security in a number of ways. In the fight against malnutrition, USAID has helped the Government of Djibouti to drastically reduce the fatality rate of severely malnourished children from 20 percent in 2006 to 0.2 percent in 2012. USAID also supports the Famine Early Warning System, known as FEWSNET, which monitors the food security situation in the country and alerts the Government of Djibouti and the donor community to the situation on the ground.
WFP programs, which are supported by regular contributions from the U.S. Government, offer Djibouti’s most vulnerable people both a step out of poverty and prospects for a healthier and more sustainable future. WFP has launched a multi-pronged response to tackle short-term hunger as well as the longer-term challenges facing the country.
In the lean season (July-September), WFP assists vulnerable people partly through general food distributions but also through food-for-work activities. The latter program enables participants to receive monthly rations in return for building assets such as feeder roads, water conservation systems and community gardens, which help them become more self-sufficient.
In pursuing its fight against malnutrition, WFP also provides fortified food to children under five, as well as to pregnant and nursing mothers at health centers in both urban and rural parts of the country.