WFP Kenya Drought Situation Report #3, April 2017

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 30 Apr 2017

Highlights

  • Below-average rainfall was received in March and April, but heavy rainfall was recorded in early May.

  • An outbreak of Fall Army Worm may greatly affect maize harvests.

  • A mid-season food security assessment is in progress.

  • The Government and WFP are working to respond to drought, with the Government providing the funding for cash transfers and WFP providing technical assistance.

  • National social protection systems are responding to some of the needs of drought-affected people.

  • WFP and Government are treating and preventing acute malnutrition among children and women but more resources are urgently required.

Situation Update

The Kenya Meteorological Department reports that rainfall was generally depressed in March and April, as forecast. The start of the 2017 March-April-May (MAM) rainfall season was delayed in several parts of the country, with prolonged dry spells and poor distribution. This resulted in poor crop performance, reduced pasture and browse, as well as increased water scarcity. This exacerbated food insecurity and malnutrition in the arid and semi-arid lands and contributed to resource-based conflict, particularly in Baringo and Laikipia counties. However, during the first week of May, rainfall was heavy, causing localized flooding and livestock sickness. The increased rain is likely to improve pasture and water availability in arid and semi-arid areas in the coming weeks.

The weather forecast indicates that several parts of Kenya - particularly central, western and the coast - will continue to receive heavy rain throughout May. Concurrently, the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO are reporting that an outbreak of Fall Army Worm is affecting over 140,000 hectares of maize in western and southern Kenya. If uncontrolled, Fall Army Worm has the potential to greatly reduce harvests, placing further pressure on food availability and prices.

The Nutrition Sector’s detailed situation analysis in early 2017 followed the poor short rains season and was based on nutrition surveys between October 2016 and February 2017. Five counties (Baringo, Isiolo, Marsabit, Mandera and Turkana) had sub-counties with “very critical” (global acute malnutrition [GAM] ≥ 30 percent) or “critical” nutrition (GAM 15.0-29.9 percent). Further surveillance information - based on mass screenings and routine data collection - showed that malnutrition continued to deteriorate as drought conditions persisted.

Poor nutrition was primarily the result of low or reduced dietary intake coupled with a high disease burden due to chronic conditions, including high poverty, diminished livelihood capacities, limited access to quality health services and inappropriate child care and feeding practices.

The Kenya Food Security Steering Group’s midseason assessment findings will be released on 18 May with information on the impact of the rainy season thus far. Four assessment teams visited 14 out of the 23 arid and semi-arid counties between 8 and 12 May. The counties visited were selected based on high food insecurity and expected deterioration, time and resources available for the assessment, and access, given insecurity in some counties. Analysis of the remaining nine counties will be based on review of secondary data.

SuperCereal (fortified blended flour) for the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition in pregnant and breastfeeding women. The second tranche of USD2.6 million was released in March for ready-to-use supplementary foods for the treatment of malnourished children. The balance of USD 2.4 million is expected to be released later in 2017.

County governments are responsible for health and have been implementing the response actions.
MoH received USD80,000 from the National Drought Contingency Fund to strengthen the capacity of selected county governments to scale-up provision of integrated health and nutrition services (immunization, vitamin A supplementation, and specialized nutritious foods). The funds were allocated to Baringo, Isiolo, Laikipia, Turkana, Wajir, West Pokot, counties.