Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Djibouti

Map of Djibouti
Map of Djibouti

August 15, 2018


  • Djibouti is an arid, desert-like country, characterized by low rainfall, extremely limited agricultural production and a heavy reliance on food imports. More than 40 percent of the population lives in poverty, the majority of whom live in rural areas.  
  • After consecutive seasons of drought in 2016-2017, adequate rainfall over the past two seasons has improved vegetation conditions and water availability throughout Djibouti, resulting in normal livestock productivity. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) estimates that approximately 50,000 people will experience Crisis (IPC 3)* acute food insecurity or worse through September—a typical number in need during Djibouti’s lean season, the period when hunger is at its peak. From October to December, the population in need will decrease to 30,000 people, as pastoralists will have increased access to milk and livestock births will facilitate additional sales and increased income. The majority of the severely food-insecure population are refugees who rely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs, as well as poor pastoralists in southeastern Djibouti, who have below-average livestock herd sizes due to losses in previous years. 
  • Djibouti is a small nation of less than 1 million people, which hosts nearly 27,000 refugees, primarily originating from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and, more recently, Yemen. The majority of refugees have resided in camps in Ali Sabieh Region for up to 20 years. Refugee camps in Djibouti are located in very isolated areas and refugees have very limited livelihood opportunities, leaving them vulnerable to food insecurity and dependent on assistance.  

* The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of food insecurity.  The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal—IPC 1—to Famine—IPC 5.


  • USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) enables the UN World Food Program to provide food assistance to 78,000 of the most severely food-insecure people in Djibouti, focusing on refugees and rural households. FFP activities utilize in-kind food sourced in the U.S. to facilitate relief and recovery interventions to reduce short-term hunger among rural communities, while also supporting asset creation activities that help them prepare for future shocks, like drought. 
  • FFP furnishes general food distributions to refugees in Ali Addeh and Hol Hol camps in Ali Sabieh Region and Markazi camp in Obock Region. FFP also provides cash-based transfers to complement in-kind food distributions for refugees. These cash transfers aim to improve the nutrition status of refugees by increasing their dietary diversity, as well as expanding their purchasing power and bolstering local markets. FFP support also enables the UN Children’s Fund to distribute specialized nutrition products to treat severely acutely malnourished children under 5 years of age throughout Djibouti.

Food for Peace Contributions

Total Contributions:

  U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
Fiscal Year 2018 $3.9 million 2,800 MT
Fiscal Year 2017 $5.0 million 3,460 MT
Fiscal Year 2016 $4.2 million 3,880 MT

* Metric tonnage does not reflect funding for vouchers or cash transfers. 

Related Resources

Last updated: August 16, 2018

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