Kenya: Drought - DREF Bulletin no. 05ME075


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In Brief


The situation

Kenya has been under the Emergency Operations Programme (EMOP) since 2004 due to inadequate rains in the arid and semi arid regions. The programme currently supports a total of 1.2 million people in 18 districts with 50%- 75% food rations. Following the failure of the October-December short rains in areas that were already under EMOP, the food security situation has rapidly deteriorated. An estimated 2.5 million people require emergency food aid (at 100% food rations) and other non-food interventions. The situation is particularly alarming in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit and Moyale districts. Other districts which will require emergency relief operations include; Kitui, Mwingi, Makueni, Isiolo, Tana River, Turkana, Samburu, Laikipia and parts of Baringo district.

Reports indicate that at least two people have died from starvation in El wak division of Mandera district, and there is a high level of malnutrition among children and mothers. According to Arid Lands Resource Management Drought bulletin, the indicator for malnutrition (ARM) averaged at 53 in November 2005. The percentage of children who are at risk and malnourished is quite high and the rates are above seasonal prevalence levels. The trend is attributed to a decline in household milk consumption and increased food prices. The increased ARM levels mean increased dependency on drugs- for children to survive- and consequent increase in household expenses on treatment of children. Currently 50 children are admitted in Mandera District Hospital while other 2,250 are served through supplementary feeding by Action Against Hunger USA.

In addition, livestock in many parts of the affected districts are reportedly in poor condition. Mass deaths of livestock are being reported in El wak, Takaba, North Horr, Maikona and Loiyangalani divisions of Mandera and Marsabit districts where mortality rates are estimated at 30-40% for cattle and goats, and 10-15% for camels. The situation is likely to worsen in the next two weeks.

The water situation has also deteriorated with most water pans and dams drying up and boreholes experiencing frequent breakdowns due to overuse. The Arid Lands Resource Management Project (ALRMP) in the Office of the President is currently undertaking water-trucking services for the hardest hit areas. According to an assessment conducted by the Mandera District Steering Group, the distance traveled to fetch water in areas lacking boreholes or not served by water trucking services has increased from 4-6 km to 8-12 km. Queuing time for domestic water in boreholes has also increased from the normal 1-2 hours to 12-18 hours.

As the food situation continues to deteriorate, many households are resorting to negative coping mechanisms such as selling of the few remaining productive assets. The collapse of the livestock market in most of the major centres in the districts has led to negative impact on food security. Grain prices have almost doubled in most parts of the affected districts while livestock prices have declined significantly thereby eroding the purchasing power of households.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Kenya: Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, Kenya Red Cross Society, Email:; Phone +; Fax +

In Kenya: Esther Okwanga, Federation Head of East Africa Sub-Regional Office; Email:; Phone +; Fax +

In Kenya: Anitta Underlin, Federation Head of Regional Delegation, Nairobi; Email:; Phone +; Fax + and Steve Penny, Disaster Management Coordinator, East Africa Regional Delegation, Nairobi; Email:;Phone +; Fax +

In Geneva: Amna Al Ahmar, Federation Regional Officer for Eastern Africa, Africa Dept; Email:; Phone +41.22.730.4224 ; Fax +41.22.733.03.95

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at

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