Kenya: A humanitarian emergency May 2017 - Responding to the needs of those affected by the ongoing emergency in Kenya


Humanitarian needs & response

2.6 million people severely food insecure

343,559 children acutely malnourished

3 million people need drinking water

2.9 million people need health assistance

1.2 million children need education assistance

2.6 million livelihoods affected

520,000 people need support for early recovery

$165.7 million required


More than 2.6 million Kenyans are severely food insecure and this number is rapidly rising. Many pastoralist households are experiencing Crisis levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3). During the lean season (July to September) many families will experience Emergency acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 4), just one step away from famine.


High levels of malnutrition are prevalent across the arid and semi-arid lands. Three sub-counties report Global Acute Malnutrition rates of 30 per cent, double the emergency threshold. Nearly 344,000 children and more than 43,000 pregnant and lactating women are acutely malnourished. From March to May, there was a 32 per cent increase in the total number of acutely malnourished children. An estimated 553,000 children under five and pregnant and lactating women will require Blanket Supplementary Feeding in five counties over the next six months.


Severe drought has dried up water resources in half of Kenya’s 47 counties. An estimated 3 million people lack access to clean water. Hygiene promotion activities and the rehabilitation of water points, boreholes and water trucks are urgently required, including in schools and health clinics. Poor sanitation and shortage of safe potable water is leading to an increase of communicable and waterborne diseases, especially among children under five.


Kenya is experiencing multiple disease outbreaks including Cholera/Acute Watery Diarrhea, Measles, Dengue Fever, Salmonella Typhii, Anthrax, and Kala Azar. An estimated 2.9 million require lifesaving medical interventions and community-based primary health outreach. Vaccination coverage is low (30 to 40 per cent) in drought-affected regions, posing a high risk of disease outbreaks. Children under five years, pregnant/lactating women, the elderly, and sick are most-affected.


Families are on the move in search of water, food, jobs and pasture for their livestock. This poses protection risks, particularly for women and children. An estimated 175,655 people – including 139,000 children – are at risk of violence, abuse and exploitation due to drought, 122,655 of whom from gender-based violence. Lifesaving GBV prevention, outreach and support services are urgently required. Children separated from their families require identification, family tracing and reunification, while those subjected to abuse or exploitation need psychosocial support.


More than 1.2 million children are in need of education assistance due to drought. Water shortages and the absence of school feeding have affected attendance in schools across the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands. Some schools have closed down because children or teachers have left the area while others are struggling to cope with an influx of displaced children. The education sector has received a mere 1 per cent of the required US$5.9 million to fund critical activities for 588,000 children.


Alarming livestock losses and extremely low levels of milk production have severely impacted pastoralist and agro-pastoralist livelihoods in Kenya, contributing to impoverishment and displacement. The Livelihoods sector is targeting 2.6 million people with a livestock offtake programme, survival feeding and disease control. Only US$1.5 million has been mobilised against a requirement of US$30 million.


Recurrent droughts have destroyed livelihoods, triggered local conflicts over scare resources and eroded the ability of communities to cope. An estimated 520,000 people need support to rebuild their lives through short-term emergency employment, and support for social cohesion and conflict management. Humanitarian actors have appealed for US$8.1 million to support community resilience but only US$100,000 has been mobilised.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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