Communities in the Arid and Semi–Arid Lands (ASALs) counties of Kenya are facing one of the worst droughts in recent history. Following three consecutive below-average rainy seasons (October-December 2020, March-May 2021,
October-December 2021), the first month of the March to May 2022 rainy season was dry, portending a potential fourth successive poor season.
At least 3.5 million people are projected to face severe food insecurity (IPC 3 and above) from March to June 2022, including 758,000 people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), according to the latest Integrated Phase Classification analysis. One county (Marsabit) has been classified to be in IPC Phase 4, as 20 per cent of the population is projected to be in IPC 4 from March to June. A further six counties are projected to have 10 per cent or more of their population in Emergency, including Isiolo (15 per cent), Garissa, Mandera, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir (all 10 per cent). The number of children aged 6-59 months requiring treatment for acute malnutrition has increased to 755,000 in March 2022, representing a 15.6 per cent increase from 653,000 in August 2021, mainly due to worsening food insecurity, reduced milk production, high morbidity, and poor sanitation and hygiene practices. The dwindling of vegetation and drying up of water sources has led to livestock deaths and loss of livelihoods for most pastoral communities. This has forced Kenyan herders to trek longer distances—sometimes as far as Uganda,
South Sudan and Ethiopia—in search of water and pasture, increasing the risk of resource-based conflict and family separation, which in turn heightens the risk of gender-based violence.
At least 481,000 people have received assistance from humanitarian organizations between October 2021 and March 2022 under the Kenya Drought Flash Appeal, which was launched at the end of September to enable humanitarian partners to scale up assistance to communities affected by the drought. Under the Flash Appeal, 454,000 people were reached with food and livelihoods assistance, including agricultural inputs and cash transfers. About 347,000 children and pregnant and lactating women were treated for acute malnutrition treatment and/or received awareness-raising on infant and young child-feeding practices, while 326,600 people received critical health-care services and 121,000 people were assisted to access clean and safe drinking water. Since January 2021, 58 humanitarian partners, including UN entities, international and national non-governmental organizations and the Red Cross, have reached about 936,000 people in the ASALs region with life-saving and life-sustaining assistance.
However, out of $139.5 million required from October 2021 to March 2022 under the Kenya Drought Flash Appeal, only 34 per cent had been received by the end of March 2022, according to local financial tracking undertaken with humanitarian partners. Under-funding has severely hampered partners’ ability to scale-up their activities in support of the Government-led response to the drought and more resources are urgently required.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.