Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Djibouti

Map of Djibouti
Map of Djibouti

September 30, 2018


  • Djibouti is an arid, desert-like country, characterized by low rainfall, extremely limited agricultural production and a heavy reliance on food imports. Approximately 42 percent of the population lives in absolute poverty, mostly in rural areas.  
  • Djibouti is a small nation of fewer than 1 million people, which hosts more than 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. Refugees have very limited livelihood opportunities, leaving them vulnerable to food insecurity and dependent on assistance.
  • The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) projects that food security conditions will improve somewhat during October–December, as food prices remain stable, livestock body conditions improve and milk production increases with the end of the June–September lean season. This will strengthen household purchasing power and boost the accessibility of food. However, 33,000 people, mostly refugees with limited livelihoods, still depend on emergency food assistance to meet their dietary needs.
  • An estimated 6,200 children under the age of five and pregnant and lactating women in Djibouti suffer from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition (SAM), and an additional 15,500 require treatment for moderate acute malnutrition, which threatens healthy childhood development.  Half of Djibouti’s regions have chronic malnutrition rates over the World Health Organization’s Critical threshold (≥40 percent), risking the longer-term growth of children.  

* 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) enables the UN World Food Program to provide food assistance to more than 33,000 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 also provides special nutritious foods to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to treat SAM.
  • 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.

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: October 19, 2018

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