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2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Djibouti

| Overview |

Working environment

  • The political and security situation in Djibouti is currently stable. However, the country has limited natural resources and is struggling to recover from six consecutive years of drought. These challenges have had a negative socio-economic impact on the host community and the people of concern to UNHCR.

  • Djibouti plays a considerable role in international efforts to restore peace in Somalia and has been party to discussions for reaching a political settlement. Djibouti has grown as a regional hub for international forces combating terrorism and piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

  • Djibouti has a high national unemployment rate, placing further economic pressure on the country. Work opportunities and prospects of local integration for refugees are limited, which has implications on their livelihood opportunities.

  • Djibouti is host to over 21,000 refugees, mainly from Somalia, who mostly reside in Holl Holl camp, which reopened in 2011, and Ali Addeh camp.

  • Given its geographic location and environmental conditions, as well as the socio-economic and security situation in the region, Djibouti has also increasingly become a transit country for mixed migratory movements to other countries such as Yemen.

  • In 2014-2015, the Government of Djibouti will continue to provide land for the establishment of refugee camps, and the Office National d'Assistance aux Réfugiés et Sinistrés (ONARS) will manage water, food distribution and security.

People of concern

Djibouti hosts over 25,000 people of concern to UNHCR, including over 21,000 refugees and more than 4,200 asylum-seekers. This population includes Somalis, Ethiopians and Eritreans, the majority of whom fled as a result of conflict and violence in their countries of origin, with women and children representing over 70 per cent of the refugee population in the two camps.

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for Djibouti
TYPE OF POPULATION ORIGIN Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total 25,340 25,340 27,510 27,510 28,840 28,840
Refugees Eritrea 400 400 610 610 760 760
Ethiopia 510 510 480 480 600 600
Somalia 20,190 20,190 21,580 21,580 22,080 22,080
Various 20 20 10 10 10 10
Asylum-seekers Eritrea 900 900 780 780 840 840
Ethiopia 3,230 3,230 3,950 3,950 4,430 4,430
Somalia 40 40 40 40 40 40
Various 50 50 60 60 80 80

| Response |

Needs and strategies

In 2014, the Office, together with its partners, will focus on life-saving activities in Djibouti while providing protection and assistance to people of concern and improving the operational context in the country. Building on the work completed in 2013, this will be achieved in 2014 through focus on five priority areas: health and nutrition; water and sanitation; education and self-reliance/livelihood activities; sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV); and durable solutions.

Mortality rates of children are below the UNHCR standard, and there is a need to reduce the high prevalence of acute malnutrition and anaemia among children of 6-59 months. To this end, UNHCR will focus on improving health standards and immunizations, especially among children. In addition, strengthening the growth monitoring activities for all children below five-years old and improving the coverage of measles immunizations to 95 per cent will be priority activities.

In the area of water and sanitation, there is a need to increase the average supply of potable water from 11 to 20 litres per person per day, to increase family latrine coverage in the camp from 70 per cent in 2013 to 80 per cent in 2014 and to improve the hygiene and sanitary conditions in both Ali Addeh and Holl Holl camps.

UNHCR will focus on both increasing the percentage of children enrolled in primary school as a priority in 2014 and raising the ratio of teachers with professional teaching qualifications. In addition, the Office will engage with the Government of Djibouti on the development of a curriculum meeting refugee needs. This will include addressing problem areas and creating opportunities for secondary and tertiary education, as well as vocational training.

With respect to self-reliance, the implementation of income-generating activities will be improved. Moreover, a link between vocational training and livelihood activities involving refugees and host communities will be established as a means of fostering de facto local integration.

In the absence of possibilities for local integration as a durable solution, UNHCR will continue its efforts to advocate for resettlement as the most viable durable solution for refugees. The Office has planned for the return of 500 refugees to Somalia after the completion and collection of intentions of return in 2013.

| Implementation |


UNHCR maintains close cooperation with the Government, other UN organizations, and national and international NGOs in order to deliver protection and assistance in all major sectors to refugees in a collective and comprehensive manner.

The Government counterpart, ONARS, is UNHCR's main implementing partner in the camps and will continue to oversee camp management, security, water and food distribution. The Ministry of Urbanism, Housing and Environment implements environmental activities and continues to provide mud stoves to refugee communities. WFP will continue supplying food rations to refugees in the camps and ensure that the basic nutritional needs of refugees are covered. UNICEF will maintain its significant contribution to coping with the drought by trucking water and implementing complementary nutritional and educational activities. Other efforts by implementing partners include SGBV-prevention and response activities, primary education services, income-generating activities, as well as HIV and AIDS prevention campaigns for refugees.

2014 UNHCR partners in Djibouti
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Ministry of Interior (ONARS), Ministry of Urbanism, Housing and Environment
NGOs: Association pour la protection de l'enfance et pour l'Epanouissement de la Famille, Care Canada, Lutheran World Federation, Union Nationale des Femmes Djiboutienne
Operational partners
Others: IOM, Norwegian Refugee Council

| Financial information |

Over the last four years, the financial requirements for UNHCR's operation in Djibouti have grown from USD 20.8 million in 2010 to a revised 2013 budget of USD 26.2 million, in order to address the needs of the people of concern, many of whom were affected by the 2011 famine that caused an outflow from Somalia. In 2014, the financial requirements for the operation are set at USD 27 million, with the entire budget allocated to the refugee programme. A shortfall in 2014 funding would present critical gaps prohibiting UNHCR from addressing activities related to water supply, secondary education, vocational training, self-reliance and shelter.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105

UNHCR contact information

The UNHCR Representation in Djibouti
Style of Address The UNHCR Representative in Djibouti
Street Address LOT No 24, Rue De L'Ígad, Quartier Heron, Djibouti, Djibouti
Mailing Address B.P. 1885, Djibouti, Djibouti
Telephone 253 21 35 16 77
Facsimile 253 21 35 86 23
Time Zone GMT + 3
Working Hours
Monday:08:00 - 15:15
Tuesday:08:00 - 15:15
Wednesday:08:00 - 15:15
Thursday:08:00 - 15:15
Sunday:08:00 - 15:15
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New Year's Day
13 January 2014, Maouloud
20 April 2014, Easter
01 May 2014, Labour Day
26 May 2014, Al-Isra Al Miraj
26 June 2014, Independence Day
28 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
05 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
23 October 2014, Musulman New Year
25 December 2014, Christmas Day



UNHCR contact information

Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Djibouti [1]
Refugees [2] 20,015
Asylum Seekers [3] 3,795
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 23,810
Originating from Djibouti [1]
Refugees [2] 762
Asylum Seekers [3] 406
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 1
Total Population of Concern 1,169
Government Contributions to UNHCR
Contributions since 2000
2014 0
2013 0
2012 0
2011 0
2010 0
2009 0
2008 0
2007 0
2006 0
2005 27,000
2004 0
2003 3,000
2002 0
2001 0
2000 0

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The number of people arriving on the coast of Yemen after being smuggled across the treacherous Gulf of Aden from the Horn of Africa has more than doubled this year. So far this year, more than 18,000 people have arrived in Yemen across the Gulf of Aden, and nearly 400 have died attempting the journey.

This surge in arrivals is largely due to the continuing conflict in Somalia and the use of new smuggling routes from Somalia to Yemen and across the Red Sea from Djibouti. Many of the new arrivals also tell of crop losses due to drought, which forced them to leave home. This photo set focuses on those people leaving from Djibouti.

UNHCR has been calling for increased action to save lives in the Gulf of Aden and other waters. We have stepped up our work in Yemen under a US$17 million operation that includes extra staff, provision of additional shelter and assistance, and protection for refugees and internally displaced people.

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