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Djibouti: Emergency relief distribution

30-09-2003 News Release 03/119

On 29 and 30 September, the Red Crescent Society of Djibouti and the ICRC carried out a one-off distribution of emergency relief supplies for some 9,000 people stranded at the Aour-Aoussa refugee camp about 100 kilometres south-west of the city of Djibouti. The camp was originally designed to house no more than 3,000 people.

The 28.6 tonnes of supplies, flown from Nairobi to Djibouti on 28 September aboard two Antonov aircraft, included water and sanitation equipment, health kits, tarpaulins, jerrycans, kitchen sets and soap.

The people sheltering in the camp – who come from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – have converged on the area in recent weeks following a Djibouti government order expelling more than 100,000 illegal immigrants from the tiny State in the Horn of Africa. An ICRC survey conducted last week found that they were in urgent need of clean water and shelter materials.

" This is a country with endemic cholera, and the lack of sanitation and waste disposal facilities poses an imminent threat to public health, " said Pascal Cuttat, head of the ICRC regional delegation in Nairobi. " Many lives are at stake and we need to act quickly, " he added.

The distribution followed a request by the Djibouti government for the National Red Crescent Society to provide short-term relief at the camp until a longer-term solution could be found. The National Society and the ICRC are the only humanitarian organizations currently providing non-food aid for the people at Aour Aoussar.

In addition to distributing relief, the Djibouti Red Crescent plans to send 40 volunteer first-aid workers to the camp.


 Further information:  

 Pascal Cuttat, ICRC Djibouti, tel.: ++ 253 352611  

 Franziska Aebi Raymakers, ICRC Djibouti, tel.: ++ 253 352611  

 Mark Snelling, ICRC Nairobi, tel.: ++ 254 722 512728