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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05DJIBOUTI368 2005-04-14 14:09:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

DJIBOUTI GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES APPEAL FOR FOOD AID

Tags:   PREL ECON EAID SENV DJ 
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141409Z Apr 05
					UNCLAS DJIBOUTI 000368 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE PASS USAID
LONDON/PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER
STATE ALSO FOR AF/E, AF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ECON EAID SENV DJ
SUBJECT: DJIBOUTI GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES APPEAL FOR FOOD AID
TO DROUGHT AREAS




1. (U) The U.S., French, Russian, and Chinese ambassadors,
plus heads of U.N. organizations and the Director of FEWSNET,
were convoked to Foreign Ministry April 10 to hear a
Government of Djibouti appeal for emergency food aid for
Djibouti's drought-stricken areas. Citing hunger and a lack
of resources, based on recent FEWSNET findings, Mahmoud Ali
Youssuf, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, asked those
convoked -- and especially the donor countries -- to answer
the appeal.



2. (U) Youssuf stated that Djibouti was experiencing the full
effect of global climatic changes. Situated in a zone known
for chronic drought and dramatic floods, it is falling anew
into an infernal cycle of drought. He continued that the
government was launching this appeal on an urgent basis in
favor of those inhabitants in the North-East, North-West and
South-West regions of the republic. This would encompass the
regions from Moulhoule to Laassa, from Dorra to Balho, and
from Daoud Aouia to Galafi, affecting 28,000 persons who risk
being confronted by famine followed by the extinction of a
large part of the livestock on which they depend. He said it
was essential to intervene rapidly to service those most
vulnerable, notably children, who would be exposed without
any doubt to epidemics and other endemic maladies. His
presentation was accompanied by hand-outs of FEWSNET
assessments.



3. (U) U.S. Ambassador informed the Minister and those
assembled that the U.S. is providing 535 tons of food which
could feed 30,000 drought victims over the next three months.
The first shipments had arrived in port the previous day.
Another tranche would arrive beginning in June, allowing the
U.S. the opportunity to feed additional victims. That
shipment is expected to encompass over 600 tons of food aid.
(Note: The assistance being provided is development
assistance under PL-480. It was originally aimed for
refugees, but is being diverted to fund food aid for
Djiboutian drought victims. End note.) She said it was
unlikely more food assistance could be provided in the
interim, but perhaps other donors might be able to contribute
to help meet perceived shortfalls.



4. (U) UNICEF Director Thomas Davin advised the Minister that
Djibouti would be well-served by thinking in terms of
short-term, medium-term, and long-term strategies to deal
with what will continue to be a chronic food shortage problem
for the country. French and Russian ambassadors made
inquiries on anticipated levels of need, but put forward no
commitments. The Chinese ambassador listened, but also made
no commitment. USAID Representative, subsequently briefed on
the meeting by Ambassador and FEWSNET Director, will be
discussing the matter further with REDSO Nairobi to determine
if other avenues of assistance are possible. French
ambassador has suggested a meeting between French and U.S.
aid agencies to discuss other courses of action. That
persistent drought, and a paucity of water resources, is
putting pressure on food sources is indisputable.



5. (SBU) Comment: While drought evidence is real, it cannot
be overlooked that the appeal immediately followed President
Guelleh's foray into these regional areas during the
presidential election campaign. Some of the areas made
strong demands for economic assistance, development and food
aid. End comment.
RAGSDALE