Kenya: Drought alert vol. 1 Jul 2009



The Drought conditions are worsening in the North, North-East and South-East of Kenya. Information from government departments, UN agencies and NGO on the ground indicate that the worsening drought has led to:

- Increased localized resource-based conflicts. High mobility amongst pastoral communities and convergence on limited resources is resulting in livestock disease outbreaks , conflicts & displacements;

- Continuing food price hikes (especially for the local staple Maize whose harvest is expected to be limited following the failure of the Long Rains season of March-June.). There are inevitably increased food shortages leading to high levels of malnutrition. Meanwhile the terms of trade for pastoralists are reducing with prices of livestock decreasing mainly due to deteriorating body conditions of livestock. The consequence for pastoralists is limited access to other basic items because of limited income.

- Severe water shortages e.g. in Mandera in North-east Kenya, some families are reported to be trekking for 100 kilometres in search of water;

- Increased vulnerabilities among the urban poor (.e.g. water shortages in Nakuru and Nairobi have led to families paying for up to 250 KES (3 USD) per day for water. Urban poor families in Kenya live on less than US $ 1 per day. In Nairobi, a 20 litre water jerican that normally costs Ksh. 2 (government subsidized price in low income areas) is now being sold at between Ksh 40-80 in different locations. The low income earning estates are worst affected. The water shortages are likely to compromise safe drinking and sanitation services that may trigger water sorne diseases.

Worst affected areas

According to the ALRMP, OCHA and other Inter-Agency assessments conducted in July, the drought has affected the following areas:

- Northern Pastoral cluster - Turkana, Moyale, Marsabit and Samburu Districts

- Eastern Pastoral cluster - Madera, Wajir, Garissa, Isiolo, and Tana River Districts

- Agro-pastoral cluster - Baringo, West Pokot, Laikipia and Kajiado Districts

- Eastern Marginal Agricultural cluster - Tharaka, Mbeere, Makueni, Mwingi and Kitui Districts

- Coastal Marginal Agricultural cluster - Taita Taveta, Malindi, Kilifi and Kwale Districts

The districts in the north and east (Isiolo, Garbatulla, Turkana, Samburu, Marsabit, Moyale, Garrisa) remain dry, as the deficient Long Rains Season ended. The current food security situation for pastoralists and marginal agricultural farm households residing in the south-eastern and coastal lowlands is precarious. The results of the government led- Long Rains Assessment which started on the 15- 31st July, expected in August will give a clearer picture on the deteriorating humanitarian situation and guide future multi-sectoral response.

Pastoralists are reported to be clustering around a few areas that include the pastoral areas of West Pokot, parts of northern and eastern Garissa, south-western Samburu, south-western Tana River, central parts of Kajiado, northern Moyale, northern and western Mandera, and northern and western Turkana, adjacent to southern Sudan and Uganda, respectively. Scarce resources and worsening drought triggers an upsurge of conflict and displacement in pastoral areas as reported in Baringo, Kuria, Isiolo, Laikipia, West Pokot, Samburu, Marsabit and Turkana.