Djibouti - Floods
OCHA Situation Report
16 April 2004
This report summarises preliminary information received from the UN
Resident Coordinator's office in Djibouti.
1. Heavy seasonal rains in
the Horn of Africa in the past days caused severe flooding in
Djibouti. Authorities reported 51 deaths and over 100,000 affected
people, out of which 1,500 people were homeless.
2. The Ambouli River burst
its banks in Djibouti adversely affecting densely populated
neighbourhoods of the capital Djibouti. Floods cut electricity
supplies and washed away parts of the old railway line to Ethiopia.
The road to Ethiopia was temporarily cut after the collapse of a
bridge close to Wea. Most shops and primary schools remained closed.
3. The Ministries of
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Interior met with
representatives of the diplomatic community and the UN agencies to
brief them on the latest details on the flood-affected people. A list
of needs will be provided after a meeting on needs takes place on
Saturday 17 April.
4. The National Crisis
Committee (ORSEC) assessed the affected areas and reported that public
basic services such as water and electricity were progressively
restored. More than 50% of the capital water supply was available as
of 15 April. The National Office for Water of Djibouti (ONED) informed
that water pipes damaged in the Ambouli River area have been repaired.
5. French and US forces
based in Djibouti have rescued people stranded on rooftops by
6. A UN needs assessment
mission was dispatched yesterday to an affected area of the capital (Balbala
school). Results of the assessments will be shared during the 17th
April Technical meeting.
7. OCHA is in close
contact with the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Djibouti and
will revert with further information as it becomes available.
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DJIBOUTI: Government to move people living in wadis to
DJIBOUTI, 16 April (IRIN)
Days after torrential rains
killed dozens of people in Djibouti, the government is to revive an earlier
plan to permanently relocate people living in the country's main wadis - usually dry
watercourses that fill up during the rainy season - to higher ground where
they are safer from flooding.
The USAID-funded Famine Early Warning System (FEWS-Net) said over 100 mm of
rainfall inundated much of the tiny Horn of Africa country between Monday and
Tuesday. The two-day rainfall accumulation, FEWS-Net added, approached
Djibouti's normal annual total.
According to the government plan, some 1,500 people living in the wadi of the
River Ambouli near the capital, Djibouti City, would be the first to be moved to
another spot 12 km away, Interior Minister Abdoulkader Doualeh said on
Thursday. Thereafter, the situation in other wadis would be reviewed.
The first target group includes a large number of Somali and Oromo refugees from
neighbouring countries, who were forced by a shortage of land in the higher
areas of the city to settle in the wadis. It also included some
Djiboutians, he added, who were involved in simple artisan work in the
Doualeh, who met humanitarian agencies and foreign envoys, announced that the
Djibouti government was seeking US $20 million to reactivate the plan, which was
first drawn up in 1994. That year a flood killed nearly 100 people in the
Meanwhile, the death toll from this week's torrential rains rose to 52 on
Thursday when three babies were found drowned after the River Ambouli burst its
banks on Tuesday. The flooding also cut off power and damaged the main railway
line from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, the capital of neighbouring Ethiopia.
By Friday, the rains had subsided. Officials told IRIN that the government was
continuing to help the families of those drowned to bury the bodies, most of
which had been recovered.
The director of the main hospital, Aden Deleita, told IRIN that medical
personnel were taking precautions to ensure that in the aftermath of the
flooding in the capital, any disease outbreak could be contained. "A lot of
drowned cattle and other debris are submerged and, and as the water
subsides, the corpses will begin to rot. We fear a possible outbreak of cholera or
malaria," he said.
DJIBOUTI, 15 April 2004
Djibouti: Dozens dead,
hundreds homeless following torrential rains
ministers met representatives of UN and other humanitarian agencies,
and foreign envoys accredited to the country on Thursday to discuss
widespread flooding that has left dozens of people dead, especially in
the capital, Djibouti City.
Interior Minister Abdoulkader Doualeh told the meeting, which was held
at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that at least 48 people were
believed to have been drowned by the torrential rains. Another 1,500
people were homeless after rising waters washed away their homes, he
Schools remained closed
for the third day while several roads in the capital were rendered
impassable after gushing water washed away their surface. Many parts
of the capital were without electricity as the power supply was
The government stopped
traffic on the main Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway amid reports that the
line may have been damaged. French and US troops based in Djibouti
flew helicopter missions to rescue people stranded by the floods.
Government officials told
IRIN on the sidelines of Thursday's meeting that the government was
preparing to appeal for US $20 million to fund a project to secure
people living near the nearby River Ambouli, which had burst its banks,
causing casualties and damage.
The officials said many of
the bodies of those who had drowned were recovered. A separate
statement issued by the Ministry of Interior on Wednesday said the
government was trying to assist the victims' families.
The torrential rains,
which began on Sunday, intensified the next day. Then, after briefly
subsiding, they pounded the city once again early on Thursday morning.
Djibouti is a small,
normally dry country covering 23,200 sq km on northeastern Africa's
Red Sea Coast, between Eritrea and Somalia. It has about 500,000