INTRODUCTION: Two years without rainfall have turned much of the land in Djibouti, the small former French colony on the Horn of Africa, into barren desert.
GV Desert area
SV & CUs Animal skeletons(3 shots)
GV People scooping water from river bed
CU Pool of water in river bed and SV people scooping up water
GV & CU Animals drinking from pan of water (2 shots)
GV Woman filling goatskin with water
CU & GV People seated(3 shots)
TV & GV Queues of people (2 shots)
CUs Women and babies in queue (5 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Two years without rainfall have turned much of the land in Djibouti, the small former French colony on the Horn of Africa, into barren desert. More than half the country's population of 300,000 live in the capital but many others lead rural, semi-nomadic lives and it is these people who have been hardest hit. Djibouti's economic and social problems have also been exacerbated by an influx of more than 40,000 refugees from neighbouring countries.
SYNOPSIS: The nomadic population normally depend on livestock herds for their survival but the drought has decimated the herds, causing severe malnutrition. There are few alternative food sources and the Government has called on international relief agencies for help. But the most critical shortage is drinking water. Polluted surface water is all that remains as springs and freshwater pools dry out. Rationing has now been introduced, limiting water consumption to only 6 fluid ounces (170 millilitres) a day for each child. Late last year the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) launched a drinking water programmed, and allocated a sum from their emergency reserve fund for supplies and technical services to start the project. Additional money is needed to buy further equipment, drill rigs, pumps and transport. Technical experts are also needed to train local Agriculture Ministry employees in the use and maintenance of the equipment. The United Nations Capital Development Fund is planning to fund a portion of this project and negotiations over the start of the programme are already well advanced.
More than 40,000 refugees have fled to Djibouti to escape fighting in the nearby Ogaden region of Ethiopia. There are few able-bodied men among them and they arrive weakened by their long and difficult journey. The refugees are crowded in makeshift camps with little food, water, or sanitation. Their presence has created serious additional demands is a country already experiencing grave economic difficulties. Again the Government has called on international agencies to provide funds to cope with the problem.
Women and children are especially at risk under drought conditions. Much of the water supply is seriously contaminated and the incidence of contagious diseases has risen. There is also high infant mortality, and malnutrition. Voluntary groups from Western Europe have provided medical staff and UNICEF have provided funds for drugs and medical supplies.