Following a dry period in November, heavy rainfall beginning in late December has resulted in floods throughout Kenya, killing an estimated 38 people and leaving approximately 30,000 to 40,000 others in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS). Humanitarian agencies report that the floods have affected populations already vulnerable due to heightened food insecurity following consecutive seasons of prolonged drought and recent outbreaks of cholera.
The floods are likely to recharge depleted water sources and improve pastoral conditions in previously drought-affected areas, including areas of the northern Rift Valley and parts of Kenya's southern districts. However, humanitarian agencies note that the floods also resulted in population displacement and damage to
crops and infrastructure in affected areas. According to early January projections, the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) expects rains to continue at lower levels in flood-affected areas through mid-January, with occasional light to moderate rainfall in North Eastern and Coast provinces, as well as southeast regions of Eastern Province.
In response to ongoing food insecurity and newly-assessed needs arising from floods, USAID/OFDA has provided nearly $2million for humanitarian interventions in Kenya to date in FY 2010. Of the total, USAID/OFDA has provided $200,000 through USAID/Kenya to KRCS for the provision of emergency relief supplies to flood-affected populations. In addition, the majority of FY 2009 USAID/OFDA-funded programs are ongoing.