Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Djibouti

Map of Djibouti

June 12, 2019

Djibouti is an arid, desert-like country, characterized by low rainfall, extremely limited agricultural production, and a heavy reliance on food imports.  More than half of the rural population are food-insecure and the poorest households spend more than three-quarters of their budget on food.    


  • Djibouti is a small nation of fewer than 1 million people, which hosts an estimated 29,200 refugees primarily originating from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and, more recently, Yemen.  The majority of refugees have resided in camps in Ali Sabieh for up to 20 years.  Refugees have very limited livelihood opportunities, leaving them vulnerable to food insecurity and dependent on assistance.
  • Approximately 50,000 rural and refugee households experienced Crisis (IPC 3) or worse acute food insecurity as of May, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.  Food insecurity is likely most severe among poor households in Ali Sabieh, Dikhil and Obock, where drought in previous years has led to high livestock losses.  These households persistently face severe food insecurity as they have limited income and access to food.
  • Cumulative rainfall in 2018 was well above-average, alleviating drought conditions from prior years and enabling some pastoral households to sustain small increases in livestock herds.  However, below-average October-to-February seasonal rainfall and warmer-than-average land surface temperatures over eastern Djibouti are contributing to poor rangeland conditions and limited livestock productivity.  Stable food prices are supporting food access, but many pastoralists have limited livestock to sell in order to purchase food.    

* 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.


  • Support from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) enabled the UN World Food Program (WFP) to provide food assistance to more than 42,600 of the most severely food-insecure people in Djibouti in April, focusing on refugees and vulnerable rural households.  FFP activities utilize U.S. in-kind food to facilitate relief and recovery interventions that reduce short-term hunger among rural communities, while also supporting asset creation activities that help them prepare for future shocks like drought or flooding.  FFP also provides specialized nutrition products to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to treat severe acute malnutrition.
  • FFP furnishes general food distributions to refugees in Ali Addeh and Hol Hol camps in Ali Sabieh and Markazi camp in Obock.  FFP also provides cash-based transfers to complement in-kind food distributions for refugees.  These cash transfers aim to improve the refugees’ nutrition by increasing their dietary diversity, as well as expanding refugees’ purchasing power and bolstering local markets.  

Food for Peace Contributions

Total Contributions:

  U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
Fiscal Year 2019 $4.9 million 3,690 MT
Fiscal Year 2018 $4.0 million 2,800 MT
Fiscal Year 2017 $5.0 million 3,460 MT

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

Related Resources

Last updated: June 12, 2019

Share This Page