Read caption Halimo is mother of four boys and lives in the Ali Adde Refugee Camp. She was born in Mogadishu, but escaped to save her life after deadly armed violence broke out in 1991. Photo: NRC/Nashon Tado

NRC in Djibouti

In the Horn of Africa, Djibouti hosts tens of thousands of refugees from across the region.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2019.

Humanitarian overview

Conflict, drought and violence in the Horn of Africa have forced many to seek protection in Djibouti. Its position has also made it a transit country and the main route for migration towards Yemen and beyond.

Djibouti hosts about 27,000 refugees, mainly Somalis, Ethiopians, Eritreans and, lately, Yemenis fleeing war. Harsh climatic conditions and drought continue to displace people in the region and push them to cross the border to Djibouti.

Drought has also devastated the livelihoods of Djiboutians in rural areas, and many have fled to the country’s capital, Djibouti City.

In May 2018, Cyclone Sagar added to the many issues already affecting Djibouti, with up to 50,000 people affected by the storm across Djibouti City and the surrounding communities.

High pressure on weak social services in camps, rural and urban areas has left an increasing number of people with little access to basic services like education and shelter, and vital resources like water.

The country recently committed to allow all social services, including education, health and employment, to refugees in the country.

NRC's operation

We provide lifesaving support to refugees, host communities and internally displaced people, and we coordinate closely with other regional country offices.

In Djibouti, we work on crisis support as well as disaster and climate-related displacement, all of which affect both refugees and Djiboutian nationals. In 2017, we published a report where we urged the government to allow refugees to work. The government has since passed a new refugee law that gives refugees access to health, education and employment.

During Cyclone Sagar in 2018, we played a vital role in providing immediate assistance to the victims in the capital and nearby villages. To support the CRRF process better, NRC has handed over day to day operation of WASH services delivery to the Ministry of Water Resources, and we will be providing technical support to the Ministry to ensure refugees and their host communities continue getting quality and up to standard services.


People we helped in Djibouti in 2019

people benefited from our shelter programme
people benefited from our WASH programme

NRC EducationEducation

Our education pilot project supports displaced youth. Our teams:

  • offer vocational skill training to young people in refugee camps in trades like IT, tailoring and cosmetology
  • provide financial support to graduates so that they can start their own businesses
  • support ONARS, the government agency in charge of refugee protection, through sub-grants to run youth skills training courses and help the youth start income generating activities

NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

Our food security activities target both refugees and the local communities hosting them. Our food security teams:

  •  provide cash grants to support small businesses and start-ups
  •  give training on microenterprise and business management
  •  donate livestock to farmers and give training on animal husbandry, marketing and health

NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

As crises continue in neighbouring countries including Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen, refugees in Djibouti require better housing to shelter them through their time in displacement. Our shelter teams:

  • construct permanent shelters for refugees and poor members of the local community, made of concrete bricks and iron sheet roofing
  • improve shelter designs and materials, to last through extreme weather
  • provide training to refugees on shelter construction so they can fully participate in the construction process while earning a living
  • responded to Cyclone Sagar destruction by distributing cash grants/vouchers for rehabilitation of shelters in Djibouti City

NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion

We support the Ministry of Water Resources to provide WASH services in refugee camps and host communities. Our WASH experts provide technical support to the Ministry of Water Resources to:

  • supply safe water to refugee camps
  • operate waste management in camps
  • construct sanitation facilities
  • distribute hygiene kits and instructions on how to use them
  • run awareness campaigns and give training on sanitation and hygiene practices
  • rehabilitate water systems with solar energy when possible
  • recently distributed cash vouchers to people affected by Cyclone Sagar to purchase hygiene kits and rehabilitate toilet systems in Djibouti City
  • construct sanitation facilities including a water filtration system that uses the waste water from bathing facilities for tree planting and home-gardening
NRC Djibouti is grateful for the generous support from our donors:
  • ECHO
  • NMFA
  • Julie T
  • Open Society Foundation (OSF)
  • Start Fund Network

About NRC in Djibouti

International staff
Areas of operation
Djibouti City (country office) and Ali Sabieh.
Budget 2019
USD 1 million
National staff


Country Director

Mohamed Abdi


+ 967 738 401 702