· The Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) reports that approximately 2.4 million people will require drought-related food and non-food assistance for at least six months—an increase of 800,000 people since August 2010. The KFSSG findings are based on a February assessment of the October–December 2010 short rains performance.
· As of March 22, an estimated 1.4 million pastoralists in northern Kenya remained moderately to highly food insecure due to consecutive seasons of failed rains, resulting in grazing land and water shortages, weakened livestock, declining livestock prices, and limited household milk availability, according to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). Declining livestock prices combined with increasing food, water, and fuel prices continues to worsen pastoralists’ terms of trade. In addition, increased migration has led to conflict over grazing land and water, resulting in death, livestock losses, and decreased market access.
· The Kenya Meteorological Department (MRD) forecasts substantially depressed rainfall during the March–May long rains season, particularly in eastern Isiolo District, Eastern Province, and Mandera, Wajir, and northern Garissa districts in North Eastern Province. The MRD also expects below-normal rainfall in southeastern marginal cropping areas, coastal lowland areas, and northern central, northwestern, and southern pastoral areas. FEWS NET expects the below-normal rainfall to exacerbate drought-related conditions, particularly food insecurity.
· To date in FY 2011, the U.S. Government has provided nearly $95 million to support drought-affected Kenyans, as well as drought-affected refugees residing in Kenya. Of that total, USAID/OFDA has provided more than $3.4 million to support drought-affected populations through agriculture and food security, economic recovery and market systems, nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) initiatives. Since FY 2009, USAID/OFDA has provided more than $24.5 million for programs that intend to meet drought-related emergency needs and build resiliency over the long term. USAID/OFDA staff in Nairobi, Kenya, have conducted four field assessments in drought-affected areas since January 2011 to ensure that new programs meet the most urgent humanitarian needs.