Kenya: Drought, Appeal 18/2004, Operations Update 3


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In Brief

Appeal No. 18/2004; Operations Update no. 3; Period covered: November 2004 to January 2005; Appeal coverage: 63.1%.

Appeal history:

  • Launched on 17 August 2004 for CHF 3,561,767 (USD 2,785,900 or EUR 2,311,300) to assist 200,000 beneficiaries for six months.
  • This Operations Update extends the operating timeline until 31 May 2005. Budget and beneficiary levels remain as presented in Operations Update no. 2.
  • Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: N/A Outstanding needs: CHF 783,549 (USD 659,000 or EUR 506,000).

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: East Africa sub-regional programmes, 2005 Annual Appeal no. 05AA004. This Appeal includes Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda within the East Africa sub-region.

Operational Summary:

This Operations Update is being issued:

  • To report on progress in implementation of activities over the reporting period, and
  • To request for an extension of the drought operation by three months to allow for the completion of certain activities that run over the initial end date of March 2005.

After an initially-poor response to an appeal by the President of Kenya contributions both in form of food aid and cash donations from the Kenyan citizens and private organizations increased significantly. Approximately KES 2,820,000 was raised nationally by the Kenya Red Cross Society. The international community has donated KES 3.2 billion (CHF 48 million) through the World Food Programme (WFP). The Japanese Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross and Netherlands Red Cross donated KES 80 million (CHF 1.2 million) towards this Appeal.

By December 2004, the Government of Kenya spent KES 2.1 billion (CHF 31.7 million) in the initial intervention both on food and non-food aid. The assistance from local donations to the affected communities has been and continues to be channelled through the Kenya Red Cross network; donations from the international community are channelled through WFP.


Successive rain failure in various parts of the country resulted in massive crop failure in marginal agricultural areas and acute shortage of pasture and water for livestock in Arid and Semi Arid (ASAL) Districts. This led to extreme food shortages that put the lives of an estimated 3.3 million people in 26 districts at risk of starvation.

Although many people have gone without food for days on ocassions, no deaths have been reported as a result of hunger. This has been attributed to immediate food distribution conducted by the Kenya Red and other stakeholders under the Kenya Food Security Meeting (KFSM) and Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG). Most of the food distributed was from the corporate sector and the general public.

Operational developments

The Government of Kenya handed over relief food in the entire 26 drought stricken districts between October and December 2004 but says that the country still requires some 80,000 metric tonnes of food worth USD 33 million to assist the populations in need until February 2005 when they are expected to have recovered depending on the performance of the short rains. The government also gave the Kenya Red Cross 980 MT of assorted food items which the national society distributed in Kwale in December 2004.

The private sector has not been able to meet importation deadlines resulting in delays in food distribution countrywide. However, a WFP report to the KSFM in early December 2004 indicated that a complete food basket for all districts will become available in January 2005. The huge task of co-ordinating the local logistics of food and seed collection and distribution was and will continue to be undertaken by the Kenya Red Cross.

A report entitled 'Kenya Vulnerability Update', issued by the government, FEWS-Net and WFP on 14 December 2004, reported exceptionally heavy rainfall over the short rainy season in November and through to December in some of the drought affected areas of eastern province (including Makueni), the northern pastoral districts bordering Somalia (including Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Ijara), the north-western districts, and along the coast where Kenya Red Cross has operations in Lamu and Kwale.

Although expected to increase household maize supply and help lower high food prices, the rains were not sufficient or consistent enough to sustain proper harvesting. As a result, the drought situation has not eased in most of drought-affected areas. This was confirmed by a January 2005 Kenya Red Cross assessment that found many crops in Kwale to have withered. Consequently, food distribution will have to continue to assist those who will not harvest anything at all and those with insufficient crop at least until the situation improves based on the performance of the short rains. The report of the multi-agency assessment of the short rains conducted in mid- January in 20 of 26 districts will be shared during a meeting of lead agencies later in February 2005.

The Ministry of Special Programmes also confirms that the drought situation has not eased in spite of the short rains hence the need to continue with food and non-food aid. In the meantime, seeds worth KES 64 million (CHF 970,000) purchased by the Government with the support of various organisations were distributed to farmers in 35 districts who planted them during the short rain season.

Three-month extension of the drought operation

The Appeal foresaw the end of the drought operation by 28 February 2005; however, the Kenya Red Cross requires additional time - untl 31 May 2005 - to fully implement activities as listed below. The national society continues with procurement of essential items. As well, the prevailing drought condition has been confirmed by an assessment by the Kenya Red Cross and the Ministry of Special Programmes.

  • The distribution of seeds for the April-June short rains to be purchased and distributed in March-April 2005.
  • Implementation of water projects in Kwale and Makueni and training of the water committees that will go on until the end of April 2005.
  • Purchase and distribution of Unimix for children under the age of five to take place from February-April 2005.
  • Completion of HIV/AIDS awareness activities that run up to the end of March 2005.
  • Procurement and distribution of relief food in March and April 2005.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:
In Kenya: Mary Kuria, Secretary General, Kenya Red Cross Society, Nairobi; Email; Phone; Fax
In Kenya: Steve Penny, Disaster Management Coordinator, Nairobi; Email; Phone; Fax
In Geneva: Josse Gillijns, Federation Regional Officer for Eastern Africa, Africa Dept.; Email; Phone 41.22.730.42.24 ; Fax 41.22.733.03.95

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at

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