[dehai-news] (TMENS) Political Stability Not Keeping Djibouti Famine Free

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From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (eritrea.lave@comhem.se)
Date: Wed Feb 11 2009 - 16:02:44 EST

Political Stability Not Keeping Djibouti Famine Free

Written by The Media Line Staff

Published Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Drought, high food prices and a weak response from donor nations have
left a large percentage of Djibouti's population without enough to eat,
despite the stable political situation in the small east African
country, the United Nations-affiliated news agency IRIN reports.
According to the report, out of an estimated population of 500,000 to
700,000, some 130,000 are suffering from high food insecurity mainly due
to the drought that has been tormenting the Horn of Africa for several
years but also from the rising prices of basic foodstuffs.
In the northwestern parts of the country bordering Somalia, malnutrition
rates are as high as 25 percent, while levels in the other parts of the
country are 16-17 %.
The countryside has also been hit harder than the central part of the
Food prices there have risen 94% over the last five years compared to
80% in the urban areas.
Djibouti, seen as an island of calm in an otherwise troubled region, is
a former French colony, which until 2002 kept a low-key existence
squeezed in among its neighbors Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
However, in 2002 the U.S. established the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn
of Africa in Djibouti.
With a staff of approximately 1,600, the task force's mandate is to
detect, disrupt and ultimately defeat transnational terrorist groups
operating in the region, and to deny safe havens, external support and
material assistance for terrorist activity.
Djibouti's main source of income is the port in the capital, which acts
as a transfer point for goods to and from the African hinterland and for
pilgrims traveling to the holy sites in Saudi Arabia.



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