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Abundant rains during the Karan/Karma season foreshadow improved food security for rural areas

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Djibouti
  • September 2013
Abundant rains during the Karan/Karma season foreshadow improved food security for rural areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • The performance of the Karan/Karma season (July to September) has greatly improved the food security situation in terms of diversified sources of income, implying improved access to foods. Most rural households will be in Stressed food insecurity (IPC Phase 2) during the scenario period.

    • With September’s seasonal resumption of activities, urban households will continue to be in Stressed acute food insecurity until December. The food voucher program for vulnerable households, which continued through the summer, allowed populations to preserve their income by limiting food expenses.




    National level

    • The good Karan/Karma season and the end of the lean season are contributing to a significant improvement in household access to food.


    • In the current context, the rain’s effects will make pastures and water more available and improve household food consumption; on the other hand, income sources will be diversified as activities resume.

    Herding communities in the southeast (border)

    • Some locales in this area did not receive the Karan/Karma seasonal rains, and pastoralists are moving to neighboring areas in search of pastures and water for their livestock.
    • Displacements will probably continue in this area during the scenario period.

    Projected Outlook through December 2013

    There is no doubt that conditions will improve in rural areas in the coming months for Djibouti’s pastoralists, following the abundant rains of the Karan/Karma season. Nearly all regions received adequate rainfall, except for border areas in the southeastern grazing zone, and weather forecasts indicate normal precipitation for the coastal rainy season. Regrowth of pastures and better access to water have been reported and will certainly continue to improve conditions for rural households until the end of the forecast period. The physical condition of livestock has improved and pastoral households can sell their animals at favorable prices, which imply a positive effect on the terms of trade. Animals are also reproducing successfully, a necessary condition for increasing both herd size and milk availability. The seasonal movement of livestock seems to be greater than normal as pastoralists try to strengthen their herds, potentially continuing through October. The recent rains led to migration from areas with rainfall shortages to areas with excess precipitation. In the Ali Sabieh region, in Biidleh and Kabah-kabah, households moved mainly to the Beya-addeh and Guistir sectors, and even across the border. The main reason for these migrations is to search for water and pasture for the livestock.

    Pastoralists’ income from the usual sources—for example, selling livestock and animal products—has fallen, and household income comes from non-sustainable sources such as transfers, small businesses, charcoal and palm product sales, and day labor. Food availability will be ensured largely through importation, and markets will be supplied. WFP food aid will also continue, targeting between 60 and 80 percent of the rural population. Pour households allocate over 70 percent of their income to food, which in turn makes them vulnerable to shocks.

    Southeastern (border) herding areas

    In view of this season’s rains and the improvements that are starting to be seen in nearly all parts of the area, the rural populations of the southeast are in Stressed food insecurity (IPC Phase 2). However, some southeastern areas near the border were short of rain, for example, Biidley and Kabah-kabah. Atypical domestic and cross-border livestock migration have been reported in such areas. Access to water has improved except in these areas, which continue to use unprotected water sources or travel long distances to obtain potable water. For the most part, people have benefited from the current rains, with visible improvement in pasture availability and livestock condition. Most of the livestock are pregnant or giving birth, making milk more available and so providing a more acceptable level of access to food. Milk consumption has become more frequent; on average, households use milk in their own diet four days per week. Despite improved pastures, the condition of the livestock, and the availability of water, owning livestock still does not provide a high return and people continue to depend on non-sustainable sources of income and food such as selling wood charcoal and accepting food assistance. Households are meeting their food needs by continuing to use negative coping strategies, and will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until December.

    Poor urban households, mainly in the Balbala neighborhood in the city of Djibouti

    The city of Djibouti’s urban households are also in Stressed food insecurity (IPC Phase 2), where the current extremely high poverty rate (30.6 percent) and the lack of employment opportunities contribute to their food security outcomes. Additionally, despite their apparent stability, staple food prices are high, also contributing to the erosion of household purchasing power. The post-summer period (September) is marked by the resumption of activities which, on the one hand, improves household income sources (in terms of access to temporary jobs), and on the other hand implies high expenses (for Eid and the start of school), both of which are a heavy drain on household resources. However, the food voucher program run by WFP in partnership with the State Secretariat for National Solidarity (3-month seasonal assistance) has allowed poor households to remain Stressed and will lessen the effects of potential shocks, at least until December.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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