FEWS bulletin - 28 Nov 1997

Originally published
Heavy October and November rains in Kenya have caused flooding in the coastal areas and along several rivers, made large areas of coastal and northeastern Kenya inaccessible, and damaged unharvested long-rains crops in western production zones. In the short-rains production zones, the rains have been favorable for land preparation and planting. In pastoral zones, they have recharged water points and regenerated pasture.

The heaviest damage has been to the unharvested long-rains crops in major production zones in Rift Valley Province. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that maize losses could amount to 130,000 MT, which would reduce national long-rains maize production to 1.95 million MT -- 5.6 percent below 1996's drought-reduced output. Below-average production, both in
Kenya and elsewhere in eastern Africa, will result in a second consecutive year of high (potentially exceptionally high) maize
prices for consumers.

In the coastal areas and along the Dawa River (figure 2), flooding in October caused significant damage to infrastructure and
personal property. Flooding along the Tana River in November displaced up to 20,000 agriculturalists from the floodplains, while destroying crops and other personal possessions. Pastoralists, the predominant population group in the Tana River area, have lost some livestock but have been able to move households and herds to drier ground. Several rivers in yando Division, Nyanza Province, also flooded in mid-November, forcing up to 4,000 persons to flee.

The heavy rainfall that began in October and continued through mid-November in northern and eastern pastoral districts is
regenerating pastures and will facilitate the recovery of drought-affected pastoralists. However, in the short term, it has cut off
roads, interrupting the delivery of food and medicines. While food prices in Mandera town have tripled in recent weeks, food is available and communications should be reestablished once the rains diminish. WFP is planning to meet immediate needs in concert with its cross-border operation to flood victims in Somalia.

In short-rains agricultural areas of Central, Eastern, Nyanza, and Western Provinces, rains in early October marked an early
start to the season. Farmers completed planting by November, and the above-average October and November rainfall has
been favorable for crop development. The promising start to this season is good news to households in the marginal agricultural areas of Eastern Province. If it continues to go well, this will be the first good season after four consecutive poor ones for many households.

The FEWS bulletin is published for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Africa Bureau, Assistant Administrator, Disaster Response Coordination AFR/AA/DRC) by: The FEWS Project, No. 698-0491 (Contract No. AOT-0491-C-00-5021-00), ARD, Inc. Contractor:

Associates in Rural Development, Inc., Burlington, VT.

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This document should not be construed as an official Agency pronouncement. Comments and suggestions regarding the FEWS bulletin should be addressed to the FEWS Director at the address below.

FEWS Project
ARD, Inc.

1611 N. Kent Street, Suite 1002
Arlington, VA 22209 USA
Telephone: 703-522-7722