The U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID] has released the first tranche of its $4 million contribution in 2013 to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for the Republic of Djibouti. This emergency assistance, announced Tuesday night, is destined primarily to assist rural populations who are experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity due to drought.
“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 aid programme will seek to support the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children currently facing extreme poverty in Djibouti. 65.2% of the population in Djibouti Ville, the capital city, live in relative poverty and 57.4% in extreme poverty, according to recent figures from the IMF.
The IMF describes the situation in Djibouti as a “persistent reality of poverty and social inequality” which is “not merely a social problem but also a full-fledged development challenge.”
Abdourahman Boreh, Special Delegate for Global Affairs, Union Pour Le Salut National – the Djiboutian opposition movement said:
“We welcome unilaterally the US government and the World Food Programme’s continued activity in Djibouti. Without such important bilateral support, the people of Djibouti would suffer even more from daily chronic hunger and thirst.
“Djibouti undoubtedly suffers from harsh environmental conditions.
“But we must turn our attention to the equally inhumane political conditions that have allowed this terrible humanitarian disaster to develop.
“We must remember that by official estimates, Djibouti is a middle income country, with clear opportunities to develop a strong economic base highly capable of sustaining its population and enabling its people to prosper.
“Yet our compatriots starve, oppressed by hunger and a dictator bent on stunting any possibility of popular renewal.
“No effective poverty reduction or drought support strategy has been put in place by the current regime. Instead, a profligate, kleptocratic elite has squandered the resources that international partners have invested in and donated to our country.
“There is a drastic need for an overhaul of the current regime’s politically motivated and institutional undermining of human dignity.
“A new focus must be placed on prioritizing the sanctity of human life. And a commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals – eradicating extreme poverty in particular – by 2025 at the latest must be institutionalized within the very fabric and purpose of government.
“The tragedy of the current humanitarian situation is deepened by the extraordinary opportunities offered by our country, with its strategic location at the entrance to the Red Sea and as an export outlet for the heavily populated landlocked countries to the West.
“Our compatriots are ambitious, aspiring people who want the best for their families. They are massively let down by a regime obsessed not with their wellbeing, but with its own political legacy and securing its own nefarious financial interests.
“The time for political change in Djibouti is long overdue.”