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 showed that three sub-counties (Turkana North, North Hor (Marsabit), Mandera) had GAM rates above 30 per cent. Six sub-counties (Turkana Central, Turkana South, Turkana West, Laisamis, East Pokot (Baringo), Isiolo) had 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 indicated that close to 175,000 children were not attending early pre-primary and primary schools, primarily due to the drought’s impact. (OCHA, 17 Feb 2017)
More than 2.6 million Kenyans were severely food insecure as of 26 May 2017 — and this number was rapidly rising. High levels of malnutrition are prevalent across the arid and semi-arid lands. Three sub-counties report Global Acute Malnutrition rates of 30 per cent, double the emergency threshold. Severe drought has dried up water resources in half of Kenya’s 47 counties and an estimated 3 million people lack access to clean water. Recurrent droughts have destroyed livelihoods, triggered local conflicts over scare resources and eroded the ability of communities to cope. Families are on the move, which poses protection risks for women and children. More than 1.2 million children are in need of education assistance. Kenya is experiencing multiple disease outbreaks including cholera/Acute Watery Diarrhea and measles. An estimated 2.9 million people require lifesaving medical interventions and community-based primary health outreach. (OCHA, 26 May 2017)
The National Drought Management Authority’s (NDMA) early warning bulletin for June indicates that while the long rains have ended, many parts of the Arid and Semi-arid Lands (ASALs) are still experiencing long distances between home and water sources, unusually high food prices, and worrying levels of malnutrition. Being the third consecutive below-average rainfall season, the modest recovery conditions in some parts of ASALs are likely to be short-lived. Therefore, the upcoming dry season (June to September) will be a difficult one for the ASALs in terms of malnutrition and access to water and food, particularly for pastoral communities. Insecurity linked to resource-based conflicts has worsened, while Fall Armyworm and African Armyworm infestations continue to threaten crops in marginal agricultural counties, further worsening the prospects for the next harvest. (UNICEF, 19 Jun 2017)
The Horn of Africa is experiencing one of the worst hunger crises in recent times due to a prolonged drought. The current drought is worse in a number of ways than in 2011, with some areas experiencing the failure of three rains in a row. In Kenya, 2.6 million people are experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity. The number could increase to 3.5 million in need of targeted assistance by August. In parts of Marsabit and Turkana, where communities are unable to reach sustained humanitarian assistance, they are at risk of sliding in to emergency levels of hunger (IPC Phase 4), one step away from famine, between July and September.
The March–May rains have been below average and it is likely that the July food harvests will also be below average, leading to a corresponding decline in access to and consumption of food. In addition, the African armyworm infestation has already affected around 69,000 hectares of farming land, prices of basic food commodities, such as maize, in Kenya have soared with overall inflation for the month of May 2017 reaching a five-year high of 11.7 per cent, and livestock prices in pastoralist areas are low due to the poor condition of animals. As a result people are reducing what they eat, with many families eating one meal a day. Food shortages are further compounded by anxiety around upcoming general elections which may politicize the crisis, a lack of access to water due to non-operational water points, and high levels of severe acute malnutrition among children below the age of five. (OXFAM, 4 July 2017)
A pioneering soil carbon project helps to double maize production in areas of Kenya, improving farmers’ livelihoods and agricultural practices.
Eight years ago, extended droughts and unpredictable rainy seasons in the Nyanza and Western provinces of Kenya were destroying the crops of smallholder farmers, and with them, farmers’ ability to earn an income and provide food for their families. Despite their best efforts, farmers lacked the know-how to adapt to, and even prosper in a changing environment.
- The biophysical indicators show unusual fluctuations outside the expected seasonal ranges.
- 50.0 mm of rainfall was received in the month of June.
- The June VCI values for Baringo County, Mogotio and East Pokot subcounty were 35, 31 and 34 respectively. Tiaty, Baringo North and Mogotio are currently below normal ranges indicating moderate drought.
- The Water level in water pans is below normal at 2 (10%-30%).
- Rainfall: The amount of rainfall received for both sub counties reduced significantly during the month of June to 44% of normal.
- Vegetation condition: The vegetation condition improved further to normal vegetation greenness for Mbeere South and above normal vegetation greenness for Mbeere North.
- Normally, the June is a dry month for the County.
- The vegetation condition was moderate across all the sub-counties.
- Water was inadequate for both livestock and for people due to poor recharge of water sources during the rainy season.
Biophysical Indicators (Environmental indicators)
- Generally the month of June recorded significant drop in the amount of rainfall recorded.
- State of water sources in the county during the month under review was 4 (declining)-below normal at this time of the year.
- On average pasture and browse condition recorded some improvement.
- On average, the county 3-month VCI for June was 25.11, indicating moderate vegetation deficit with Kilifi South recording normal vegetation deficit.
- Below-normal rainfall was received in both livelihood zones.
- The Vegetation Condition Index was below normal at 30.34.
- The state of water sources was normal for this time of the year.
- Livestock body condition was normal at this time of the year.
- Milk production was below normal.
- No livestock migration was reported during the month.
- Rainfall: For the month of June, the County has experienced rainfall ranging from light showers to heavy downpour. The rain was distributed fairly in terms of time and poorly in terms of space. The received rainfall was approximately 70% of the expected amount for the month, which is below the normal range.
- Below normal rainfall was experienced in the month of June.
- The vegetation condition Index VCI-3Month) was 25.31 in the month of June from 12.06 in May which is near normal.
- The VCI indicated improving vegetation condition with a moderate band deficit. The situation is improving the overall drought stage in the county was at Alert in June.
- Generally the month was characterized by hot sunny days.
- The County experienced normal vegetation greenness (VCI of 50.53) apart from some pockets where there was moderate drought.
- The quantity and quality of pasture ranged from fair to good in the Mixed farming zone while in the Marginal mixed farming zone it was fair.
- The state of water sources in rivers, pans and dams was fair to good mostly in both Mixed farming (Coffee/Dairy) and Mixed farming (Livestock/Food Crop) while in the Marginal mixed farming zone it was fair.
- Rainfall: Generally the County didn’t receive rainfall in the month under review. However, there were traced amounts in Marsabit Mountain and Moyale Township.
- Vegetation condition: Vegetation condition index slightly improved from 14.73 in May to 19.05 in June but still stands within the severe vegetation deficit band. Pasture and browse is fair-good in Agropastoral zone while poor in Pastoral livelihood zone.
- The month was generally dry across all livelihood zones.
- Vegetation conditions remained poor with a vegetation condition index recorded at 38.33.
- Pasture and browse conditions were largely poor in the Agro-pastoral livelihood zone and fair to good in all the other livelihood zones similar to last month.
- Rainfall: The cessation of long rains was experienced in the third dekad of May.
- Vegetation condition: The 3 month vegetation condition index (VCI) for the County is 28.67 depicting a moderate vegetation deficit.
- Rainfall received was below normal and was poorly distributed both in space and time. The cumulative amount was 2.9 mm and 2.8 mm and in the 1st and 2nd dekads respectively.
- The vegetation cover further improved within the county with overall vegetation cover increasing from 15.71 to 24.3 as measured by vegetation condition index.
- Surface and underground water sources across the livelihood zones remained partially recharged; however, trekking distance for both households and livestock increased.
- The highlands of the county received light showers in the month under review.
- The long rains season was depressed, erratic and characterized by poor distribution in terms of time and space.
- The rains supported pulses production, water recharge and pasture regeneration.
- Vegetation condition index stood at 31.08 i.e. moderate vegetation deficit showing improvement from severe in May.
- The month of June was characterized by poor rainfall performance coupled with intervals of sunny and dry weather conditions.
- The Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) was 46.6 indicating a normal vegetation condition.
- The water recharge levels and availability were below normal.
- There was little/no rainfall recorded. Rainfall performed poorly in the county and were below normal.
- Pasture condition was generally poor across all the livelihood zones. The situation is below normal.
- The water state remained the same as the previous month. It is below normal.
- Generally the county did not received any rainfall during the month, however most days of the month were characterized by cloud cover, marking the beginning of winter season. Currently vegetation cover indexes for the month of June still showed moderate vegetation deficit band with a VCI score of 24 from previous month figure of 21, although Wajir west, and Wajir south are the most affected areas with vci scores of 9.16 and 14 respectively, with Wajir west indicating extreme vegetation deficit and Wajir south severe vegetation deficit.
- Rainfall received during the month was depressed with a temporal distribution of 2-4 days. Compared to the normal for the same period, the cumulative rainfall for the 6-month period (January-June) for Nasukuta rainfall station amounts to only 81%.
- Slight improvement in the condition of vegetation was noted as evidenced by the shift in VCI-3month for the county to 32.2 from 25.02 in May. Pokot central & north remained most affected with a VCI-3-month of 27.06 & 29.91 respectively.
- The County is currently experiencing severe vegetation deficit as a result of poor performance of the seasonal long rains.
- No significant rains were received in this month. The county received offseasonal showers along the coastal regions of Kipini and recorded an average of 2.6 mm which is below normal for this time of the year. Much of the showers were received within the first and second dekad of this month.
- Cessation of the March-April-May (MAM) rains was on the third week of May. The month of June was generally dry though light off season showers were received for two days in high attitude areas.
- Vegetation condition index for the month stood at 45.92 from 37.45 last month. This was indicative of normal vegetation greenness though the situation has highly deteriorated due to migration of livestock from the neighboring counties.