Kenya: Drought Emergency Appeal No. 18/2004 Operations Update No. 1

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In Brief

Appeal No.18/2004; Operations Update no. 1; Period covered: 17 August-13 September 2004 (weeks 34-37); Appeal coverage: 3.3%.

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 (ending 28 February 2005).

Disaster relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: n.a.

Outstanding needs: CHF 3,445,559 (USD 2,702,399 or EUR 2,235,924)

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: East Africa sub-regional programmes, Appeal 01.08/2004 - refer to

Operational Summary: Kenya Red Cross Society1 has now been formally appointed as lead agency for Kwale district by the Office of the President in agreement with WFP. It is now possible that another organization will be appointed as lead agency for Makueni district which had also been assigned to the Kenya Red Cross. Negotiations are ongoing with WFP for food commodities to assist up to 108,000 beneficiaries in Kwale and possibly for 8,200 beneficiaries in Lamu district; WFP is also likely to cover some transportation and distribution costs. This is a change in the plan since the Government of Kenya (GoK) was originally to provide food commodities for Kwale. Discussions are however ongoing as to whether Kenya Red Cross will still be responsible for food distribution in Makueni or in another locality with or without Government of Kenya food commodities.


The current drought in Kenya has endangered the lives of 2.3 million people liv ing in 26 districts across the country. Owing to its severity, the President of Kenya declared the drought a national disaster and expressed fears that many more may face starvation if the response is not swift.

The Kenya Food Security Meeting (KSFM) which comprises the Office of the President, Kenya Red Cross, WFP and other organizations has been mandated to oversee the drought operation countrywide. It estimates that Kenya needs 166,000 MT of food to feed the 2.3 million people at risk. Of the total food requirement, the GoK has pledged to offer 45,000 MT, while the rest is already being sourced from other local and international donors. However, maize imports by the Government have not arrived yet and are only expected after 30 September. The government also waived duty on maize imports in early August to allow the private sector to bring in maize to fill the food deficit; the private sector has so far brought in about 32,000 MT.

The joint UN appeal for 166,000 MT (including commitment by GoK for 45,000 MT) is 42% covered. There are problems of food procurement due to high price of regionally available food necessitating international procurement by WFP; this will limit food availability for September except for the really hard hit areas of Turkana and Marsabit.

Harvesting of the early maize crop is ongoing in most parts of the country (over 80% in Central, Eastern and Coast Provinces; 90 % in South Rift; 70 % in Nyanza and 30 % in Western provinces) and is expected to be completed before mid-September. The main maize crop in key maize producing areas of Western and Rift Valley provinces is in the grain feeling stage of development and harvesting is expected to commence in early November. The projected national long rains maize production remains at only 1.71 million MT (20% of average production in 2004); this is unlikely to be revised downwards because the crop is nearing the maturity stage, and rainfall being received in the key main maize producing areas of Rift Valley and Western Provinces will sustain it up to maturity.

Maize prices have continued to increase as the supply tightens; prices in three out of the four markets surveyed (Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret) have risen by between 3 to 10%. An increase in demand for cereals in the arid and semi arid districts due to decrease in milk availability has resulted in increase to the local prices of maize and beans. Maize prices will remain significantly above the long-term averages until harvesting of the main crop begins during the period October/November.

Most of arid districts are in the alarm stage of the early warning system while parts of Mandera and Turkana districts are already entering the emergency stage. Forage condition is very poor in all the districts with exception of Ijara, Tana River and some parts of Samburu districts which received some rain over the past; as a result, these areas are experiencing a high influx of livestock.

Livestock condition remains poor in most of the districts and an increasing number of people are selling off their animals, resulting in low livestock prices. Cases of Foot and Mouth Disease have been reported in Mwingi and parts of Kitui districts, leading to closure of livestock markets. Prices of cereals in both the arid and semi arid districts remained high due to increased in demand and shortages in supply.

Boreholes are the main sources of water for both livestock and domestic use are the boreholes; there is a high congestion of livestock within the few operating boreholes leading to long waiting time. Water trucking is being done to settlements far from permanent sources of water in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, lowlands of Samburu and Kitui districts; the demand is increasing.

Conflicts over pasture and water sources have been reported in several areas: six people lost their lives in a conflict between the Murulle and Gare communities in Mandera; a security officer was killed in a conflict between the Samburu and Pokot in Samburu. Conflicts have also been reported in Baringo while about 19,000 goats have been reported lost in Turkana to cattle rustlers.

Malnutrition rates remained high in most of the districts with the exception of Turkana district where there is food relief distribution. Malnutrition rates also declined in Tana River in areas that received some rain that resulted in increase milk production. People in most of the semi arid districts have resorted to charcoal burning, sand harvesting and brick making to earn money for buying food.

The Kenya Meteorological Department's forecast for the short-rains season from October to December indicates enhanced probability of near normal to above normal rainfall in southern half of Kenya. This includes the areas in the south-eastern Kenya which are rains dependent. The areas not dependent on short rains including those in the Rift Valley province adjacent to Lake Victoria, central Kenya, the south-western border and West Pokot district are also more likely to receive normal rainfall with enhanced probability of above normal rainfall. About 450,000 MT of maize and 180,000 MT of beans are expected to be produced during the short rains season. These projections are close to average levels of production and are mainly based on favourable short rains forecast in key short rains crop producing areas.

However, most of the pastoral districts of northern and eastern Kenya are more likely to receive below normal rainfall. Another poor season in these drought-affected pastoral areas would be seriously detrimental to household food security. The meteorological department warns that failure of the rains would mean another 1 million people joining the needy bracket.

Operational developments

The Federation issued this Emergency Appeal for CHF 3,561,767 (KES 215 million) to enable the Kenya Red Cross to assist 200,000 most vulnerable drought-affected people including 40,000 children in the districts of Kwale and Makueni over a period of six months .(

The private sector in Kenya has also launched several local appeals towards which ndividuals, corporate bodies and the media houses have been contributing both cash and in-kind (food). The Kenya Red Cross has been entrusted with the coordination of distribution of the contributions. To date the Kenya Red Cross has coordinated distribution of 415 bags of maize, 77,919 kgs of maize flour, 336 bags of beans, 3,075 litres of cooking oil and 2,205 kgs of cooking oil in Kwale, Makueni, Kitui, Garissa, Nyeri, Kiambu, Turkana, Mwingi, Kajiado, Thika and West Pokot from the national appeal.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action - objectives, progress, impact

Emergency relief (food and basic non-food items)

Goal: To assist 200,000 targeted beneficiaries cope with the present drought, reduce its impact and initiate recovery activities.

Objective 1: Transport and distribute adequate food rations to the drought affected population in the districts of Makueni and Kwale.


Detailed planning for transport and distributions of food items are underway. Owing to the high cost of transportation, the Nairobi regional delegation has assisted the national society in calculating a more cost effective transportation option through use of local commercial trucks. Discussions are also ongoing with the ICRC to provide the national society with additional trucks for transporting the relief food and with WFP for their contribution of transportation and distribution costs. The Kenya Red Cross participated in a national stakeholders workshop organized by WFP and other partners. Kwale and Lamu branches have participated in similar exercises at district level.

Objective 2: Assist the target population in recovering from drought through support to their agricultural livelihood.


FAO has expressed difficulties in accessing drought resistant seed due to resource constraints but is exploring other alternatives.

Health and Care

Objective: Reduce morbidity and vulnerability from water related diseases by improving access to safe drinking water and promoting environmental health and sanitation in the districts of Makue ni and Kwale.


The Kenya Red Cross conducted a water and sanitation (watsan) assessment in the two districts of Kwale and Makueni. Over 90% of seasonal rivers which are the main sources of water in both districts are dry and communities are scooping to an average depth of 2-3 metres for sub-surface water which is not necessarily fit for human consumption. Water levels and discharges in many other water sources such as dams, shallow wells, boreholes and springs have also drastically reduced.

Over 60% of small to medium earth dams have dried up and at least 70% of the water systems are rationing water. People have to walk long distances (an average of 5-10 kms) to the few operational water points which are experiencing long queues in the worst affected areas.

Cases of conflicts due to competition for water for domestic, livestock and irrigation purposes have increased in the districts particularly on rivers Kiboko and Kyamwea.

In Makueni, the most affected areas have operating boreholes that can be rehabilitated to serve more people in the affected communities.

In contrast, the most affected areas in Kwale district, namely Kubo and Samburu divisions , have limitations in terms of water sources. The ground water is highly saline and it is very expensive to make an earth dam in the hinterland. This leaves the options of hand dug water pans, rain-water harvesting and rehabilitation of the non-functioning hand pumps in the neighbouring divisions.

Objective 2: Reduce vulnerability to, and impact of HIV/AIDS by encouraging behaviour change, communication and improved care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).


Detailed logistical planning and preparation have been under taken.

Federation Coordination

The KFSM and the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG), both under the Office of the President, are the main structures through which collaboration, information sharing, planning and formulation of drought mitigation guidelines and policies take place. KFSM brings together all stakeholders that include government ministries, international organizations, the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations including Kenya Red Cross. Many agencies have been given lead roles in some of the 26 districts earmarked for attention.

Regular meeting are being held under this umbrella body to coordinate efforts in the response to the drought in which the Kenya Red Cross participates. There have been a number of movement coordination meetings between the Kenya Red Cross, ICRC and the Nairobi regional delegation to agree on a coordinated approach in logistical support and other support to Kenya Red Cross.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement -- Principles and initiatives

Communications - Advocacy and Public Information

Objective: Advocate in favour of the drought-affected population and contribute to conflict prevention efforts.


There has been high media coverage of the involvement of the Kenya Red Cross in the drought operation and its appeal to the public for more donations. Several interviews with Kenya Red Cross staff have been undertaken on both on TV and radio while several features have appeared in the local dailies. The national society continues to receive a lot of mention as a lead agency in the collection and distribution of relief items for the local appeal during media coverage of the drought situation.


Wide coverage of the drought has elicited a lot of response for donations in form of food and in cash amounting to Kshs 52 million at the time of writing this report. Kenya Red Cross has also organized for journalist to accompany them to the field give first hand coverage of distribution of food to beneficiaries. This has given more opportunity to highlight the most severely affected areas, which in turn has translated into increased contribution by the public.

The role of the Kenya Red Cross as lead agency in the collection and distribution of proceeds from the local appeal has contributed to raise the national society's profile as a dependable and accountable organization. There has been increased interaction and networking between Kenya Red Cross and other organizations, the corporate body and stakeholders owing to its feature in the media .

National Society Capacity Building

Objective: Strengthen the capacity of the Kenya Red Cross national headquarters, Makueni branch and Kwale branch and empowering the target community to minimise the long term effects of the drought.


No progress has been reported this period.

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 Conduct2 and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response3 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


1 Kenya Red Cross Society -

2 Code of Conduct -

3 Humanitarian Charter -

Annex I

Kenya - Drought
APPEAL No. 18/2004