Kenya: Drought Response Situation Report No. 3, 29 June 2017

Highlights

  • During May, the Kenya Food Security Steering Group conducted the Long Rains Mid-Season Food and Nutrition Security Assessment for 2017 in 14 of the 23 arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) counties.
  • The assessment confirmed the delayed onset of the long rains in both marginal agricultural areas and pastoral zones. Cumulative rainfall was below average with a majority receiving 50 to 75 per cent of normal rainfall.
  • Delayed planting may result in a below average harvest. This would require increasing the number of people targeted for assistance from 2.6 million to 3.5 million by August.
  • Nearly 344,000 children and more than 37,000 pregnant and lactating women are acutely malnourished and in urgent need of treatment. From March to May, there was a 32 per cent increase in the total number of acutely malnourished children.
  • The lack of adequate funding is preventing partners from scaling up multi-sectorial interventions to assist communities severely affected by drought. Since its launch in March, the Flash Appeal has raised US$71.7 million (43 per cent) against a total requirement of US$165.7 million. The health, education and early recovery sectors have received very limited to no funding.
  • 594,000 people were reached in May through asset creation for livelihood/relief activities.
  • An estimated 175,655 people – including 139,000 children – are at risk of violence, abuse and exploitation, 122,655 of whom at risk of gender-based violence.
  • After a food pipeline break during term I (January to April) the Ministry of Education (MoE) and WFP resumed school meals in ASAL counties for over 1.6 million children.
  • Heightened insecurity due to conflict in northeastern parts of the country has caused non-local teachers to flee leading to the closure of over 18 schools. This has disrupted learning for over 4,500 children.

Situation Overview

The onset of the March to May long rains was delayed and characterized by uneven geographical distribution and prolonged dry spells. Although some southeastern and coastal areas recorded above normal rainfall, Kenya was largely sunny and dry throughout March and experienced depressed rainfall during April and May. This resulted in poor crop performance and even crop failure in some regions. March to May seasonal rainfall has ceased over most parts of the country except for western and coastal areas and some of the central highlands, including Nairobi.

In the pastoral areas of the Rift Valley and northeastern Kenya, pasture for animals and water availability has improved in some areas but is likely to deteriorate by August. Some of the most hard-hit areas received none or very little rainfall and remain parched. Coastal areas experienced heavy storms that killed animals.

The 2017 long rains mid-season assessment concluded that modest improvements in pastoral areas due to increased rains at the end of April are likely to be short-lived. Crop production is expected to be below average across the country, while the nutrition situation will deteriorate if shocks continue.

Staple food prices are expected to remain high due to below average crop production, uncertainty over supply and hoarding. High food prices are making it difficult for schools to get adequate food supplies to cover the school term with current levels of funding. This has forced some schools to retender for supplies or to reduce the number of feeding days in order to manage with the allocated funds.

Fall Armyworm was reported in 23 counties with over 800,000 hectares threatened. Meat and dairy prices may show some recovery, but will rise as pastures diminish. Across Kenya, greater numbers of poor families will be unable to meet their minimum dietary needs. As food and milk consumption decreases, malnutrition is on the rise.

The Forage Condition Index was shown to correlate closely with malnutrition levels. FAO predicts a continuing threat to food security and nutrition across most ASALs into September.

The food consumption score in most households has deteriorated due to crop failure, high food prices, livestock migration, and a reduction in household stocks, sources of income and milk production. The mid-season assessment indicates that households consume less diverse food groups and that protein rich foods are increasingly out of reach. Families are adopting nutrition coping strategies such as reliance on cheaper food and on reducing the number, portion and size of meals

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