Kenya is currently experiencing a prolonged drought largely as a result of below average precipitation from the seasonal short rains (October-December) and long rains (April-June). Prevailing dry conditions across the Horn of Africa have led to the deterioration of farmland and pastures, loss of livestock, sharply increased food prices, and reduction of the availability of water, in Kenya as well as Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda. Food, livelihood, WASH, health, and protection needs are present, particularly in Kenya’s pastoral zones in the north and northeast, and are expected to increase in the coming months with the continuation of the 2019 lean season through September.
Anticipated scope and scale
The Kenyan government has identified ten counties, mostly in northern and northeastern Kenya, as being particularly affected by the drought: Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, Marsabit, Turkana, Baringo, Kilifi, Samburu, Tana River and West Pokot. Drought conditions are expected to persist into the coming months and the number of severely food insecure people is expected to increase to 2.5 million by July 2019, up from approximately 1.1 million at present. Many affected areas have a high level of underlying vulnerability linked to recurrent exposure to droughts that have taken place in recent years.
Humanitarian access remains relatively unconstrained in most drought-affected counties across Kenya. In Mandera, ongoing insecurity connected to Al Shabaab may generate localized challenges for the delivery of assistance.