Kenya - Arid and semi-arid lands drought response dashboard (January - October 2021)

Originally published



Three consecutive poor rainy seasons in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya have exhausted families’ coping capacities and left more than 2.9 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The drought has significantly hampered crop production and damaged livestock, leaving nearly 2.4 million people severely food insecure (IPC Phases 3 and above), including around 368,000 people in emergency levels of hunger (IPC Phase 4), and over 523,000 children under age 5 in urgent need of treatment for acute malnutrition. Water sources for both people and livestock have become increasingly scarce, forcing families to walk longer distances and causing tensions among communities, which has led to an increase in inter-communal conflict. In some counties, families have started to adopt extreme coping mechanisms. Cases of child marriage have been reported in some areas and school dropouts reported in Kilifi, Kwale and Tana River, where children are engaging in labour or survival activities to support their families, including producing charcoal to generate income or walking in search of water.

From January to October 2021, 41 humanitarian partners—from UN entities to international and national non-governmental organizations and the Kenya Red Cross Society—reached approximately 812,000 people in the ASAL region with life-saving and life-sustaining assistance. This includes over 102,000 people who received critical assistance in October, with funding received 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. From January to October, over 555,000 people received food and livelihoods assistance, including agricultural inputs and cash transfers. Humanitarians provided around 493,000 people with access to clean and safe drinking water, at a time when the drought increased distances to water sources from an average of 3 to 6 kilometres to between 15 and 20 kilometres in some countries. In addition, 385,000 children and pregnant and lactating women were reached with acute malnutrition treatment and/or awareness-raising on infant and young child-feeding practices, while 282,000 people received critical healthcare services.

As the drought continues, humanitarian needs are increasing, and much more must be done to help drought-affected people in Kenya. The Flash Appeal launched by humanitarian partners in September is extremely under-funded, with less than 20 per cent of the US$139.5 million required received by the end of October. This includes an allocation of $5 million from the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), as well as generous contributions from other donors. More funding is needed to ensure that humanitarians can scale-up their response and reach people whose lives are threatened by the third acute drought in less than five years.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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