Kenya: Drought Emergency Appeal MDRKE044

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This Emergency Appeal seeks a total of some 8 million Swiss francs to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) to support the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) to deliver assistance and support to some 150,000 people for 6 months, with a focus on the following areas and strategies for implementation: Livelihoods and basic needs, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Health, Protection, Gender and Inclusion (PGI) and Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA). The planned response reflects the current situation and information available at this time of the operation.

The operational strategy

Needs assessment and targeted communities

The effects of below average 2018 October–November–December (OND) short rains season continue to be experienced in many parts of the country. The short and erratic rainfall compounds pre-existing fragile coping capacity, the food security situation has deteriorated in many counties of the country. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) bulletins for January 2019 indicates that 16 counties (West Pokot, Tharaka Nithi, Samburu, Nyeri (Kieni), Marsabit, Mandera, Lamu, Laikipia, Kitui, Kilifi, Isiolo, Garissa, Embu,
Baringo, Turkana and Wajir) are currently experiencing increasing Stressed food insecurity (IPC2) with the situation worsening as a result of ongoing effects of the drought. Wajir County is the worst affected in the country with Turkana, Marsabit, Baringo, Samburu and Garissa also experiencing significant deterioration in the food security. Some communities in these affected counties are already in crisis (IPC 3) with the situation projected to further deteriorate. This operation is primarily informed by the 2018 Short Rains Season Assessment (SRA) report which indicated that 800,000 people were in Crisis IPC 3 and require immediate food assistance. A subsequent assessment done in March 2019 by NDMA indicated that 843,900 people are in IPC 3 and a further 267,600 people are in IPC 2 bringing the total food insecure population to 1,111,500 people.

Cessation of the short rains, which were generally below-average in many areas, resulted in a warning of a decline in food, water and pasture in a number of counties. Diminished forage resources have triggered migration and concentration of livestock in particular dry season grazing areas. Diminishing resources increases competition for the resources, which is a major trigger of resource-based conflicts if not managed early enough. The nutrition situation remains critical in Turkana, Samburu and Mandera counties as well as East Pokot and North Horr sub-counties1 while Wajir, Tana River, West Pokot, Garissa and Laisamis counties are at serious level2. An estimated 541,309 people (including children under 5 and pregnant and lactating mothers) require treatment for malnutrition with more increase observed in severe acute malnutrition (SAM) caseloads which recently rose from 85,105 to 113,941.

The March-April-May 2019 period has experienced delayed rains onset in many parts of the country, attributed to the Tropical Cyclone in Southern Africa. A possibility of further tropical cyclones developing in the SouthWest Indian Ocean Basin will continue delay further the onset over the eastern sector of the country. As a result of this, dry conditions are expected to persist in the eastern part of the country. The rains are also expected to be poorly distributed both in time and space which is likely to have negative impact on the agricultural sector leading to food insecurity. As these areas are already experiencing increased food insecurity, the expected poor rainfall performance will result in less than full recovery for many of these areas and thus food insecurity is likely to persist through to July 2019. Thus, KRCS proposes to carry out cash and food interventions through this period.

As the drought situation worsens, the health, nutritional and psychosocial status of the affected population is negatively impacted especially for families already in IPC phase 3 (SRA, 2018). There is also a risk of increased disease outbreaks due to scarce availability of clean drinking water. Counties at risk of cholera outbreaks (including Tana River, Garissa, Wajir, Turkana, Mandera, Marsabit and Narok) as well those with active outbreaks (including Kajiado) are likely to experience new outbreaks as water scarcity forces communities to resort to poor quality water.