Remarks by Ambassador André on Flood Relief

Statement by H.E. Mr. Larry André, Ambassador of the United States to Djibouti
La Plage Carré, December 7, 2019 at 10:30


I am honored to be with you this morning to talk about the heavy rains in late November that resulted in wide-spread flooding in Djibouti-ville, Tadjourah, and other communities.  The equivalent of two years of rainfall in two days damaged houses, businesses, schools, and infrastructure.  Every person, every family, every community in Djibouti was affected in some way by this disaster.

On behalf of the American people, I offer my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives due to flooding.  I also offer sympathies to those in Djibouti-ville, Tadjourah and other locations in this country who were injured, lost their homes and required emergency aid.

Following a request from the Government of Djibouti for humanitarian assistance, the U.S. government provided $100,000 to meet the immediate needs of those Djiboutians who were most effected.  In coordination with the Djiboutian government, these funds provided blankets, plastic sheets, water reservoirs, water pumps and other emergency supplies distributed by the United Nations Development Program.

We applaud Djiboutian authorities at the mayoral, provincial and national level, other partners that demonstrated generosity in response to this natural disaster, and elements of Djiboutian civil society that extended assistance to their fellow citizens.  We also applaud the donors, youth, and friends who are present here today for their commitment to addressing the flood damage.

As we work to repair the damage inflicted by these most recent rains, we can contemplate how best to prepare for future such events.  I recall the flooding following Cyclone Sagar.  My Djiboutian friends tell me of flooding in 2004 and 1994.  We know that Djibouti periodically suffers from flooding.  Enhanced urban planning and respect for city drainage plans already in place can lessen damage from future heavy rains.  Thanks to a barrage recently built by Turkey, which withheld a large amount of water, the effects of the floods were limited this time.

I look forward to talking with you and hearing your ideas about how Djibouti can best protect its people and their vital infrastructure from the effects of these periodic floods.