IOM Responds to Diarrhoea Outbreak in Obock, Djibouti

Humanitarian Emergencies, Migration Health

Djibouti - The Migration Response Center (MRC) in Obock, Djibouti, earlier this month reported a growing number of severe diarrhoea cases among migrants originating from Ethiopia. Since then, new cases have been reported, with 189 now registered. Some 38 cases are still in a severe dehydration state and 18 are in recovery as of 16 September.

A rapid response team and an equipped vehicle was sent by IOM and the Ministry of Health to Obock with foods supplies, decontamination materials, and chlorine tablets provided by the Djibouti Institute of Public Health. Obock is a hub for migrants from the Horn of Africa trying to reach Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

The Ministry of Health, with support from IOM, has now set up a treatment facility outside the MRC and all new cases since 15 September have been transferred there. IOM will continue to assist the Ministry’s response.

IOM helped some 125 migrants who had fully recovered or were unaffected by the outbreak to return to Ethiopia on 16 September. They included 34 unaccompanied children.

Djibouti’s water department (ONEAD) has increased the concentration of chlorine in water distributed through its network in all urban areas, including Djibouti and Balbala. All water points in Fantaherou, Tadjourah and Obock, which are high concentration areas for migrants, are also being disinfected by the ONEAD and the Ministry of Health.

Government agencies and humanitarian partners have mobilized a public information campaign to alert people to the outbreak and how to mitigate the risk of it spreading among migrants and host communities.

Lalini Veerassamy, IOM Chief of Mission in Djibouti said: “We are currently on the ground in Djibouti-ville and Obock, working closely with Djibouti government authorities and other UN agencies, with the support of the IOM Regional Office in Nairobi, to ensure that we deal effectively with these cases.”  

For further information please contact Lalini Veerassamy at IOM Djibouti at Tel: +, Email:

Water chlorination and handwashing is combating the outbreak. Photo: IOM