Kenya: Drought - Hunger Crisis 2021 - Emergency Appeal №: MDRKE049


This Emergency Appeal seeks a total of 8 million Swiss Francs to enable the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) to deliver humanitarian assistance to 500,000 people (100,000 households) over a period of 18 months to address the current drought crisis in Kenya. The operation will focus on Livelihood and Basic Needs, Health and Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Protection, Gender and Inclusion (PGI) and Strengthening the Capacity of the National Society. The planned response reflects the current situation and information available at this point of the evolving operation and will be adjusted based on further development and continued assessments.


  • July 2021: National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) bulletin issued, stating that twelve counties are at the stressed food.

  • July 2021: IFRC launches a DREF operation, to support 2,000 families with 2 months cash transfer and 1,000 families with 1-month in-kind assistance

  • August 2021: The Long Rains Assessment report released in August indicates alert-worsening food security and nutrition situation in 12 counties, with some 23 counties recording drought

  • 08 September 2021: The President of the Republic of Kenya declares the drought a national disaster.

  • 09 September 2021: The IFRC launched the EA to support the KRCS to scale up the response.

Situation overview

The food security situation has been on a worsening trend in the Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) counties in Kenya attributed mainly to the poor performance of the OctoberDecember 2020 short rains and the MarchMay 2021 long rains. Both seasons were characterized by late onsets, below average cumulative quantities, and poor distribution both in time and space. The latest National Drought Early Warning Bulletin reports twelve counties namely Marsabit, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Kilifi, Tana River, Makueni, Lamu, Samburu, Kitui, Isiolo and Laikipia are in the alert drought phase as of July 2021. The OCHA humanitarian snap shot for August reports more than 2.1 million people in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) of Kenya are severely food insecure, following two consecutive poor rainy seasons that have hampered crop production. This represents an increase of about 70 per cent since February 2021, when an estimated 1.4 million people (10 per cent of the population in ASAL counties) were classified in Crisis (IPC 3) or worse levels of food insecurity, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis. In addition, the Kenyan Meteorological Department projected third consecutive poor rainy season (October – December - short rains) will result in below-average harvests and worsening livestock conditions in northern and eastern Kenya.

As the situation further deteriorates, the President of the Republic of Kenya declared the drought as a national disaster on Wednesday, 08 September 2021. It’s reported that the National Treasury and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government have been instructed to spearhead Government efforts to assist the affected households including water and relief food distribution as well as livestock uptake.

Resilience is significantly weakened through damage to household economies and health as people are forced to engage in negative coping strategies to overcome acute food insecurity. In addition to the poor performance of the rainy season, other drivers of acute food insecurity include the recurrent droughts, COVID-19 pandemic and related effects, conflict and insecurity, pests and diseases, all of which drive up the staple foods and livestock prices.