The food security situation in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) counties deteriorated sharply due to the poor performance of the October-December 2021 short rains season, leaving an estimated 2.8 million people in Crisis (IPC 3), according to a mid-season assessment carried out by the Kenyan government and humanitarian partners. This marked the third consecutive poor rainy season in the pastoral, agropastoral and the marginal agricultural areas of the ASALs. In pastoral areas, people are having to trek longer distances in search of water for themselves and water and forage for their livestock. Livestock deaths due to the drought are reported to have surpassed 1.4 million, including due to long trekking distances and depleted pastures. As pastoralists travel further from their usual zones, several counties—including Baringo, Isiolo, Laikipia, Lamu, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir—have been affected by resource-based conflicts. In marginal agricultural areas, crop production will be an estimated 70 per cent below-average, marking the third consecutive below-average season. The poor rains also significantly reduced agricultural wage labour income for poor households, constraining access to food.
In 2021, 42 humanitarian partners—from UN entities to international and national non-governmental organizations and the Kenya Red Cross Society—reached approximately 830,000 people in the ASAL region with life-saving and life-sustaining assistance. This includes over 207,000 people who received critical assistance from October to December 2021 under the Drought Flash Appeal, which was launched at the end of September to enable humanitarian partners to scale up assistance during the ongoing lean season in Kenya. In 2021, about 568,000 people received food and livelihoods assistance, including agricultural inputs and cash transfers. Humanitarians provided around 514,000 people with access to clean and safe drinking water. In addition, 386,000 children and pregnant and lactating women were reached with acute malnutrition treatment and/or awareness-raising on infant and young child-feeding practices, while 289,000 people received critical healthcare services.
The Drought Flash Appeal is, however, significantly under-funded, with less than 24 per cent of the US$139.5 million required recorded by the end of December.
This includes an allocation of $5 million from the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), as well as generous contributions from other donors. With the drought deepening, the Flash Appeal was extended to the end of March 2022.
More funding is urgently needed to ensure that humanitarians can scale-up their response and reach people whose lives are threatened by the drought in the months ahead.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.