Another distress call

Published: Tuesday 31 May 2005

Drought-struck Djibouti, on Africa's eastern coast, is experiencing severe food and water shortage. The country's local economy is almost entirely dependent on livestock rearing but the recent drought has destroyed its pastures and killed livestock. Its woes have further been increased by the burden of herders migrating from neighbouring, drought-affected Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Djibouti's location is strategic, serving as a passage for many landlocked African countries. Besides, the us has stationed hundreds of troops in the country, its only African base, to counter terrorism.

The United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently called for an urgent therapeutic feeding programme for the next six months for thousands of Dijibouti's malnourished children aged less than five years. It also underlined the urgent need for clean water supply for the affected people and immediate veterinary support and concentrated animal feed for the livestock. The Djibouti government had earlier appealed for international help on April 9, 2005.

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