Kenya Flash Appeal 2017

Originally published


Kenya Flash Appeal: $165.71 million Required to reach 2.6 million people with life-saving assistance and protection in the next 10 months


The 2016 short rains season (October to December) brought severely reduced levels of rainfall to the region. The drought has had a major impact on water resources. Widespread crop failures and declining terms of trade for pastoralists have affected farming and agro-pastoral communities especially in the Northwest, north-eastern and the coastal strip of Kenya.
Household production of milk and meat is low and the price of milk and other dairy products has skyrocketed, contributing to rising food insecurity and malnutrition.


UN agencies and partners have developed this Flash Appeal in response to the Government of Kenya's declaration of the drought as a national disaster and appeal for international assistance on 10 February 2017.

The Flash Appeal complements the Government's nine-month response plan (November 2016- July 2017), to which it has so far allocated nearly $100 million against sectoral interventions totalling $208 million. In addition, the Kenya Red Cross Society is targeting 340,000 people. While a robust Government-led response is ongoing, the scale of the needs is overwhelming the capacity of national structures. Several mechanisms are providing cash and/or food assistance including through the Hunger Safety Net Programme; the Government's State department of Special Programmes; Government safety nets from the State Department of Social Protection; county governments; WFP, the Kenya Red Cross Society; and non-governmental organizations. However, these mechanisms require further support to ensure that the food and other requirements are met in an effective, well-targeted and timely manner, and this is contained in this appeal. These interventions are prioritized to target the most vulnerable people in the drought-affected areas.

While awaiting the results of a number of ongoing evaluations to determine the most critical gaps, this Flash Appeal focuses on gaps that have already been identified. The Flash Appeal will be revised in approximately three months time. The revision will be informed by the findings of the long-rains (March-May 2017) assessment and ongoing humanitarian impact assessments to determine any additional needs and gaps in the overall humanitarian response.


The Government of Kenya's declaration of a national disaster on 10 February 2017 followed the release of the short rains assessment (SRA) conducted in the affected counties by the Kenya Food Security and Steering Group (KFSSG). The SRA confirmed that the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance dramatically doubled from 1.3 million people in August 2016 to 2.6 million people (20 per cent of the pastoral population and 18 per cent of those living in marginal agricultural areas) in February 2017 as the result of drought which significantly impacted the two main rainy seasons in 2016 (March-May and Oct-Dec) and brought severely low levels of rainfall. This has resulted in widespread crop failure, acute water shortages, sharply declining terms of trade for pastoralists and declining animal productivity which have had a devastating impact of food security and nutrition conditions and which have exhausted people’s capacity to cope with another shock. There are also increasing reports of disease outbreaks and conflict as a result of displacement and water shortages. The Government estimates that 4 million people will be in need of assistance by July 2017, if the long rains fail.

The 2016 short rains season (October to December) brought severely reduced levels of rainfall. The rainfall deficit was particularly acute across northern, north-eastern pastoral and marginal agricultural areas (also known as ASALs - the arid and semi-arid lands) which already have the lowest development indicators and the highest incidence of poverty in the country. The worst-hit counties have a food security phase in “crisis”: Baringo, Garissa, Isiolo, Kilifi, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir and West Pokot.

This is the second consecutive rainfall season with widespread below-average rainfall in Kenya and diminished food production has exhausted people’s capacity to cope with another shock. The most vulnerable are the elderly, sick, pregnant and/or lactating women and children under five years.
The drought has had a major impact on water resources, including on river flow levels and the availability of water for human and livestock consumption. Most water points in the worst affected areas are in near-dry status. This has been exacerbated by a significant proportion of non-functional water points. Water supply for irrigated crop production has also been reduced as the drought extends over key river basins.

Widespread crop failures have affected farming and agro-pastoral communities especially in the northwest, north-east and the coastal strip of Kenya, where poor moisture conditions prevented planting and stifled early crop growth. Crop production is up to 70 per cent below the five-year average and the food insecurity is worsening in most ASAL counties. Areas dependent on the short rains harvest are facing significant food shortages and are likely to remain dependent on markets until the next harvest in February 2018.

Although global wheat and maize prices continued to fall during the last quarter of 2016, the FAO food price index for East Africa has more than doubled in 2016. Food prices across Kenya are showing an atypical increase due to below-average production in 2016. Wholesale maize prices in the urban markets of Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret and Mombasa rose by as much as 12 percent between November 2016 and January 2017. Current prices are 10 – 25 per cent above their five-year averages and are expected to continue rising.

Terms of trade are declining sharply for pastoralists, contributing to rising food insecurity and malnutrition. Livestock prices are falling as body condition declines. Goat prices in December 2016 were as much as 25 per cent below their five-year averages and 2015 prices. Demand for livestock is low, so much so that and in some places, such as parts of North Horr, livestock markets are not operational. Prices are expected to continue falling as the condition of livestock deteriorates. In Marsabit, the price of a sheep has declined by 90 per cent. Herders are being forced to sell their remaining assets at very low prices to be able to afford food for their families – the price of which is increasing.

Household production of milk and meat is low and the price of milk and other dairy products has skyrocketed. This means protein-rich food is increasingly out of reach for vulnerable pastoralists. Food consumption patterns are deteriorating, with many households in cross-border areas reporting that they are skipping meals and eating less when they do eat. In Turkana 42 per cent of households reported having gone the entire day without eating. Research shows the close link between forage condition and child malnutrition, and highlights the importance of early livelihood interventions, such as livestock offtake and animal feed provision, to reduce malnutrition.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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