On 10 February the Government declared a national drought emergency, with 23 of 47 counties affected. The number of food insecure people more than doubled – from 1.3 million to 2.7 million. Some 357,285 children and pregnant and lactating mothers are acutely malnourished. The latest nutrition surveys show that three sub-counties (Turkana North, North Hor (Marsabit), Mandera) have GAM rates above 30 per cent. Six sub-counties (Turkana Central, Turkana South, Turkana West, Laisamis, East Pokot (Baringo), Isiolo) have GAM rates between 15 and 29 per cent.
Maize production in the coastal areas decreased by 99 per cent compared to the long term average. People have to travel further to access water, for example in Baringo, household walk three times longer than normal. Pastoralist communities in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties are losing their livestock - with reports of large numbers of animal deaths in Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu and Mandera counties. Data collected by UNICEF from 10 affected counties indicates that close to 175,000 children are not attending early pre-primary and primary schools, primarily due to the drought’s impact. (OCHA, 17 Feb 2017)
As of mid-April, the rate of malnutrition is above emergency levels in some areas while other parts have serious acute malnutrition levels. Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) rate is above 15% in ten counties, and above 25% in four of these. Further analysis indicates low dietary intake and household level food insecurity, coupled with high disease burden and localized outbreaks of cholera (Mandera, Marsabit, Wajir and Tana River) as some of the reasons attributing to higher rates of malnutrition. The drought has also had a major impact on water resources, where 30 per cent of rural water points are nonfunctional resulting in a five-fold increase in water prices leaving some 2.6 million people in urgent need of safe water. Households are largely – and unseasonably – dependent on boreholes in drought-affected areas, with most other water sources having run dry. Since the launch of the Flash Appeal in March, almost USD 30 million has been mobilised against the total requirement of USD 166 million. Over 1.2 million people were reached in March through WFP, and Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) food and cash programmes. (OCHA, 13 April 2017)
Rainfall remains well below-average during peak rainy season in the Horn of Africa
Africa Weather Hazards
Light, uneven rainfall since late February has resulted in moderate to locally strong moisture deficits in many parts of southern South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, southern Somalia, and northern Tanzania.
GFDRR supports governments in designing financial protection strategies and instruments to respond to natural disasters. The Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Program (DRFIP) leads the dialogue on financial resilience as a component of the World Bank’s support to countries in better managing disasters and climate shocks. The initiative connects financial expertise with risk management across many sectors, bringing countries comprehensive solutions and helping them to become more effective in managing their own risk.
Lodwar/Nairobi April 19, 2017: HelpAge International has began providing assistance to vulnerable older people and their families most affected by the devastating drought in Kenya’s Turkana County.
Described as the worst in decades, assessments by HelpAge and its partners found that water purification and livestock feed are needed urgently, and HelpAge will be providing cash assistance to households that include older people.
8,034 returnees returned to Somalia
2,831 core relief items distributed
1,035 newly enrolled students
7,930 returnees provided with reinstallation grants
74 shelters and 32 latrines constructed
2,222 beneficiaries enrolled in community based projects
UPDATE ON ACHIEVEMENTS
The current food and nutrition insecurity in the semi-arid counties has been mainly caused by the severe agriculture production shortfall resulting from the poor rainfall during the 2016 short rains season (the major agricultural season in these counties). This situation is being exacerbated by the ongoing below-normal rainfall (long rains season).
The current drought in Kenya was declared a national disaster by the Government on 10 February 2017. Some 2.6 million people in the arid and semi-arid lands are now experiencing acute food insecurity, up from 1.3 million in August 2016, and the nutrition situation is continuing to deteriorate.
WFP urgently needs a total of USD 378.7 million for operations in Somalia (USD 242.1 million), Kenya (USD 43.8 million) and Ethiopia (USD 92.8 million) from April to September for the drought response.
Nutrition screening results indicate a deterioration in the situation across the region.
In Somalia, WFP has increased the number of beneficiaries reached by 400 percent since January, with 1.67 million people assisted in March.
The current drought continues to affect the education sector across the arid counties. Firstterm enrolment in sampled schools in Wajir County remains 20 to 30 percent less than for the same period in 2016. This decrease is attributed in part to migration due to drought as well as inadequate regular school feeding. Pre-primary and lower primary children are most affected. School attendance is inconsistent and the rate of transition of children from early childhood development centres to primary schools is much lower than in 2016.
Tens of thousands of pastoralists fled from Turkana in Kenya to Uganda last week to escape the drought. It is the latest blow for the parched region for which politicians once made rash promises of rapid modernization.
As many as 10,000 Kenyan pastoralists have crossed the border from Turkana in Kenya to Uganda in search of pasture and water for their cattle.
Josephat Nanok, governor of Kenya's Turkana County, confirmed their departure and urged Uganda to accommodate them, The Monitor in Kampala reported.
By ROBERT SHAW
There is a bigger national food crunch than was projected or anticipated due to drought and the armyworm invasion.
This is already being reflected in the upward surge of prices of many basic foods.
In turn it is going to force us to take a longer and harder look at our overall food sufficiency situation and how potentially vulnerable we are.
It is important to emphasize the holistic nature of the food crunch.
Kakuma was once a sleepy, remote region of Kenya. Now it is home to the country's second-largest refugee camp. There appears to be no end in sight to the stream of people escaping war-torn South Sudan.
The fire crackled all night long. Alice Maraka and her family had covered large distances on foot to comb the drought-stricken area for wood they could make into charcoal. When the coal is cool enough to handle, Alice heads to the United Nations refugee camp in Kakuma, where she trades it for food. A bowl of coal fetches two portions of millet or beans.
Dryness remains in the Greater Horn of Africa
Africa Weather Hazards
Below-average and erratic rainfall since December has resulted in strong moisture deficits and degraded ground conditions. However, above-average rainfall since March has helped to alleviate seasonal dryness.
Despite an increase in moisture following the passage of Tropical Cyclone Enawo during early March, long- term moisture deficits remain due to very poor rains earlier in the season throughout central and eastern Madagascar.
• Since the declaration of the drought emergency by the Government of Kenya in February, humanitarian partners are working together with national authorities to scale up response activities targeting vulnerable people and families in the counties most affected by the drought.
• Over 1, 2 million people were reached in March through WFP, and Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) food and cash programmes.
Rainfall performance: March 2017
Horn of Africa
Affected areas Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan
Cause of displacement Disaster (Drought, food insecurity and conflict)
Figures More than 464,000 new displacements between 1 November 2016 and 24 March 2017
The 4-year-old boy went from mildly ill to dead in less than 12 hours. The village residents nod knowingly of the cause: There is no food in this isolated community on the Kenyan coast, and the only well pumps salty water.
The village teacher can see malnutrition's thinning effects on her students. Rosemary Siekisa tests their body fat levels and recently found seven children dangerously malnourished. Some of her students go days without food, she said. Water spiced with a pinch of salt sometimes serves as a meal.
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.