Following the poor performance of two consecutive rainy seasons and a forecast for below average rains for October – December 2021, on 8 September the Government of Kenya declared the ongoing drought situation as a national disaster, calling for relevant ministries to initiate emergency assistance including water, food distribution and livestock uptake.
In the 23 Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) counties the overall food security trend has been deteriorating due to below average production and limited income generating activities linked to COVID-19 restrictions.
The number of food insecure persons (IPC3+) has significantly increased from 1.4 million in February to 2.1 million in June 2021 and is projected to further increase. Currently, 523,000 children are acutely malnourished, 111,000 of whom are severely malnourished and without timely treatment their life are at risk.
In addition, livestock migration beyond usual grazing areas is expected to intensify from September. This could lead to an increase of resource-based conflicts, potentially disrupting markets and access to basic services, like health and education, and further disrupting livelihood activities.