NDMA disburses contingency funds to mitigate drought impacts
The drought and food security situation in the most affected counties ranges from moderate to severe
Parts of arid and semi-arid (ASAL) counties are experiencing some level of drought stress due to poor performance of the March-May 2016 long rains seasons. Though most ASAL areas normally experience dry conditions between June and September, those that received depressed long rains are facing significant water and pasture shortage as a result.
The prolonged dry spell has resulted in reduced forage and water for livestock, deterioration in livestock body condition and poor crop harvest, especially in coast and lower Eastern regions.
Affected areas are also grappling with water shortage for household use and increased risk of malnutrition.
The early warning system started signalling drought stress in pockets of coast region as early as June. The system assesses severity of drought and its impact through use of a combination of remote-sensed data, household interviews and direct observation to determine the drought phase.
Through the system, NDMA provides monthly drought early warning information from 23 ASAL counties to guide county decision-making.
The early warning information covering the month of September indicated most affected counties as Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River and Taita Taveta. Others are Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Makueni, Kitui and Samburu. The drought and food security situation in these counties ranges from moderate to severe.
Kilifi County is at the alarm drought phase, while all others are in alert or normal phases, with a generally worsening trend. Significant shortages of pasture and water, and in some cases livestock mortality, were reported in parts of Kilifi, Garissa, Lamu, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Makueni,
Kajiado, Narok and Marsabit.
This situation activated release of funds from the Drought Contingency Fund (DCF) – a 10 million Euro European Union grant provided through the NDMA to ensure availability of financial resources for quick action before drought deteriorates. The DCF has been available since June 2014 and is providing critical lessons in the use of contingency financing before operationalisation of the National Drought Emergency Fund (NDEF) established under the NDMA Act, 2016 which came into place in April.
Funds released to drought-hit counties
Contingency funds have already been released to the most affected counties to support interventions in livestock, water, health and nutrition, education and peace and security sectors. Between July and October 2016 the NDMA disbursed Ksh81.7 million of drought contingency finance to 10 counties, complementing what the counties and their partners are already doing to cushion communities against drought impacts. The county governments have been the first line of action considering their devolved functions. They have been supporting activities such as provision of relief food to vulnerable populations, water trucking and operation and maintenance of water sources. Some county governments have been able to sustain livestock disease surveillance and control through routine vaccinations.
The short rains season forecast shows that rainfall is likely to be depressed and poorly distributed in both time and space as a result of the evolving La Niña condition. If the season is poor, and if its onset is late, then the current drought situation will become significantly worse. There will be a farther decline in livestock body condition, and consequently in milk availability, child nutrition and household purchasing power, and a potential rise in resource-based conflict.
This will require close monitoring and sector assessments to facilitate geographical and beneficiary targeting. NDMA is encouraging sectors and stakeholders to activate contingency plans.