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النسخة التجريبية من موقع النهضة العربية (أرض)

Coronavirus in Djibouti: Health and Livelihood Crisis Deepens the Suffering of the Poor Briefs about the state of Social Protection in the Arab world


Despite being the smallest country in the Horn of Africa and almost totally lacking natural resources, the Republic of Djibouti is also one of the poorest Arab countries and ranks 175th worldwide in terms of response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Djibouti registered its first case of Coronavirus on March 28.[1] The crisis revealing both its inability to take immediate action to protect its population from the implications of the virus, and its vulnerability to “social, economic and political dangers in the event of the virus outbreak.[2]


In this brief, The Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Developments documents Djibouti’s response and measures to fight the Coronavirus pandemic, and analyses the country’s measures to protect vulnerable groups, namely the poor, the elderly, children, refugees, immigrants and people with special needs.

Among East African countries, Djibouti, which has a population of less than one million, recorded more than 900 cases of Coronavirus, including two deaths. This large number can be attributed to the government’s failure to respond to the epidemic.[3]


The Djibouti government has not come up,until this moment, with any real plan to provide social protection to its citizens, especially vulnerable groups. It only announced that the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency “Tika” provided humanitarian aid to only 1,000 families.[4]

At the same time, the World Bank provided $5 million to support Djibouti’s efforts to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, and provide social safety nets and health care, with emphasis on women and youth.[5]

According to a report issued by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Djibouti “is predicted to be the African nation with most infections”. The report also indicated that more than 3 million people could die in Africa due to Coronavirus. Those predictions, emphasis on Djibouti, were made based on the various factors this country affected by, such as poverty and the spread of health problems that make the population even more vulnerable and prone to infection, such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.[6]

The UN also warns that the outbreak of Coronavirus threatens to cause extensive damage in the Republic of Djibouti. It says that food insecurity could more than double inonly three months. Currently, some 20 million people in African countries do not have secure food provisions.[7]  

Coronavirus also cast its shadow on migrant workers; the Djibouti authorities sent more than 2,400 Ethiopians stranded in Djibouti because of pandemic-related travel restrictions back to their country. They wanted to be allowed to go back home without having to take any tests before leaving Djibouti.[8]

Djibouti took several initiatives and organised some campaigns to limit therepercussions of Coronavirus. For example, the Muslim World League carried out a campaign for purchasing heath and preventive supplies and health parcels, awareness and educational material and medical supplies) to be distributed to governmental health facilities.[9]


Moreover, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth in Djibouti donated 50 mobile health units to set up a field hospital in order to increase the capacity to accommodate those infected with the virus and limit the negative effects of this pandemic, which impacted the county’s social, health and economic systems.[10]

While Djibouti goes through a health crisis that threatens to cause more suffering for its vulnerable groups, it is necessary for the government, the public sector and civil society organizations to join efforts in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic in order to guarantee the provision of social protection services, in the field of health care, food security and supply of clothing.

[1] Djibouti Confirms the First Case of Coronavirus

[2] The Ability to Confront Disease Outbreak

[3] Djibouti and Somalia Witness Rapid Spike in Coronavirus Cases

[4]  Turkish'”Tika” Provides Humanitarian Aid to Djibouti

[5] Djibouti: World Bank Approves $5 Million in Urgent Support of Coronavirus Response

[6]  UN Warns: Three million Could Die from Coronavirus and 1.2 Billion Infected in Africa

[7] Latest Updates on the Coronavirus Pandemic

[8]  Djibouti Sends Back more than 2,400 Ethiopian Immigrants

[9]  “Man Comes First”.. No Differentiation nor Discrimination

[10] WAMY Donates 50 Mobile Health Units to Establish a Field Hospital in Djibouti