Humanitarian aid for victims of climatic hazard in Kenya

Situation Report
Originally published
Amount of decision: 3,850,000 Euro

Decision reference number: ECHO/KEN/EDF/2004/01000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population:

1.1. - Rationale:

Northern and Eastern Kenya is subject to climatic changes resulting in cycles of flooding and drought. Rain failure in the Arid and Semi Arid lands (ASAL) which represents 80 percent of Kenya is cyclical, and unpredictable in terms of frequency, magnitude and acuteness of the effects. This together with the demographic pressure (estimated at 3.3 - 3.7% in the pastoral areas of Kenya) on limited resources and a deteriorating economic base, has resulted in a slow but steady erosion of livelihoods and coping capacity of the populations. The mainly pastoralist population in these areas are particularly vulnerable, due to previous marginalisation and little time to recover from the previous drought cycle (1998-2001), and the very limited development of the carrying capacity of the land.

Following the previous sustained drought (1998-2001) in many of these areas, and ECHO's intervention, in 2004 a second 5-year phase of the World Bank (WB) funded 60 M$ 'Arid Lands Resources Management Project (ALRMP)' was launched to address long-term fundamental development issues including the problem of the carrying capacity of the land. In addition, a 'Drought Contingency Fund' is being established with the Government of Kenya (GoK), WB and other donors, including EC, to provide crisis mitigation. In the meantime, however, a new drought crisis has arisen.

Following the poor 2003 short rains and 2004 long rains, a new drought, with its initial epicentre on Turkana led the President of Kenya to declare an emergency on 14/7/04. Livestock dependent pastoralists and agro-pastoralists are particularly affected by this new drought. Over 60% of the 12 million pastoralist and agro-pastoralist population in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands are below the poverty line, and thus highly vulnerable. Rain failure has serious social and economic implications for these populations. Rain failure affects the livestock production by limiting the availability of forage and water, whereby livestock is entirely dependent on natural pasture. When all or a large number of animals die, the pastoralists loose their livelihoods which are not readily replaceable. It takes four years to recover from a one third drop and eleven years from two thirds drop in cattle herd size. For goats these figures are 1.5 years and 3.5 years respectively1.

Currently, northern Kenya is the most affected part of the Country. Due to the rain failure, the state of the already vulnerable population continues to deteriorate rapidly in terms of malnutrition rates, water stress and livelihood declines with some of the indicators already above emergency thresholds. Although the underlying problem requires a structural, long term solution, immediate short term emergency needs must be addressed to contain the situation.

Consequently, while longer term problems are being addressed, and crisis mitigation structures are being established, and a significant local response is underway, the scale of the rapid deterioration and rising acute humanitarian needs resulting from the present drought require additional short-term humanitarian assistance. Such assistance will be provided in a way that would not be prejudicial, but rather complementary, to ongoing development assistance. This will also best facilitate an effective exit strategy.