Kenya Humanitarian Update Issue 1, 1-20 Feb 2001

This is the first issue of a humanitarian update, which will be produced on a regular basis by OCHA KENYA. The purpose is to share with all the partners involved in humanitarian activities, information which is of use to them in planning, implementing or funding programmes. It would greatly assist us if all partners could inform OCHA of their activities. If you have suggestions as to how this update could be improved please let us know. Contact details above.



In January, as the UN finalised its Inter-Agency Donor Alert for Kenya, torrential rains fell in many parts of the country. Flooding affected many families, particularly in the western districts and the rain hampered relief operations where roads were made impassable. Incidences of cholera and malaria are expected to increase.

The impact of these rains is yet to be seen but preliminary assessments indicate that harvests, especially for the western areas, will be higher than anticipated and crop projections have increased. Pasture has similarly improved in some areas, such as the southern rangelands of the Maasai but other pastoralist areas have failed to benefit and the situation remains bleak. WFP has extended its EMOP until June 2001 and the numbers of beneficiaries have increased by 1.1 million to 4.4 million. Urgent interventions are still required in all sectors but particularly in terms of non-food items.

Economically the drought has exerted a major toll. Quoting in a report by the Pan African News Agency (PANA), 16 January, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) blamed part of the downward slide of the Kenyan economy on the drought. The resultant power rationing, Kenya being dependent on hydro-electric power, which was in force since the middle of last year and was recently suspended, resulted in lost revenue due to reduced industrial production. This has compounded the losses felt by the agricultural sector which accounts for 24.5% of the GDP. (Other reasons cited for the poor economic growth are given as the poor infrastructure, inefficient telecommunications and inadequate transportation systems).

One of the most worrying impacts of the drought has been the increase in insecurity. Cattle raiding, banditry and conflict over access to water sources and pasture has rendered many parts of the country inaccessible unless accompanied by armed escort. Civilians continue to be the victims as, in addition to being caught in the crossfire, humanitarian operations are held up.

A major objective of the UN Donor Alert is to put in place mechanisms for early warning and more importantly early response. Kenya is a drought-prone country and longer-term development plans and opportunities are crucial to alleviate the dependence on aid in the future. The outcome of the talks between the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and the Government of Kenya (GoK) will be a major indicator of future development assistance for Kenya and could have a serious impact on the ability of Kenya to cope with future droughts. Failing to fulfill all the criteria relating to the implementation of the poverty reduction programme could lead to a suspension of IMF and WB development funding and this decision could lead to other donor governments reacting in a similar fashion. Some of the main conditions for the resumption of aid include the establishment of the Kenya Anti-corruption authority (KACA), which has just been declared unconstitutional by the judiciary and establishment of a code of ethics for leaders. A decision by the IMF and WB is expected to be made shortly.


The Minister of State responsible for relief and rehabilitation, in the Office of the President, Mr. Shariff Nassir launched the Joint GoK/UN Follow-up Appeal to Combat the Drought Stress in Kenya at Harambee House in Nairobi on Thursday, 13 February. This launch comes after the launch in Geneva of the UN Regional Appeal for the Drought in the Horn of Africa on 30 January. The UN whose Inter-Agency Appeal for the Drought in Kenya makes up a component of the GoK document is requesting US$122,650,146 in an appeal which focuses on food security, followed by water and sanitation, health, education and security. For further details and copies of the appeal please contact OCHA Kenya or refer to the website:



The latest Food Security Update by FEWS-NET - 8 February 2001 reports that the "country’s food security outlook remains mixed". The continuation of the short rains has markedly improved prospects for a favourable harvest in the arable areas. Pastoral districts, however, with localised exceptions, fared less well and, food insecurity continues to deteriorate, exacerbated by the erosion of coping mechanisms and the localised conflicts, which are reducing access to markets and grazing areas.

Crop prospects have improved and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) has increased estimates of cumulative short and long rains maize outputs to 1.9 million MT, although this is still unfavourable compared to the 1991-8 average of 2.6 million MT. FAO reports that while high yields of cereals are expected, beans and grain legumes have suffered and poorer harvests of these crops are anticipated. The stabilisation of food prices and the expected reduction in market prices after the February harvest is not expected, however, to be transmitted to the food insecure north and east due to the ongoing insecurity and poor trade infrastructure.

It is anticipated by FAO that the severe poverty induced by the drought will force many farmers to sell much or most of their crop to settle outstanding debts but the subsequent impact on household food security, therefore, is difficult to assess at this stage.

WFP reports that January distributions are still ongoing due to delays caused by late registration of beneficiaries and logistical constraints including sever weather affecting the condition of the roads. Pipeline delays, however, mean that while maize and oil are being distributed, there are no pulses in the food basket for January. For the February distribution it is anticipated that the problem will be partially resolved with 75% ration of pulses available for the ten most drought-affected districts in which the EMOP supplementary feeding programme is operating.

Following reports of the sale of relief food in Wajir district, a joint Office of the President (OP)/OXFAM-UK /WFP team will travel to the district to further investigate. There are concerns that the sale of relief food, with or without the consent of the beneficiaries is seriously impacting the well being of those in need especially in view of the rising levels of malnutrition in the district.

The issue of the implementing partner for WFP’s food distributions in Mwingi has been resolved. Action Aid will replace IFSP-E (GTZ).

A strategy on the way forward following SC(UK)/GoK’s study on food security capacity and methodologies at District level conducted in November and December is expected shortly. The study analyses the strengths and weaknesses of all the food security systems in Kenya. Recommendations focus on capacity building and the establishment of effective coordination, monitoring and assessment and analysis bodies. Also included is a proposal for a three-year food security training project to be implemented by SC(UK). The proposal is subject to approval by the KFSSG.


An evaluation of seeds projects implemented during 2000 is currently underway but early reports indicate that they have largely been a significant success. Interventions continue to be needed in order to consolidate food security and promote seed security in the marginal districts. Seed distributions are planned with funding from FAO, SIDA and DFID.

FAO reports that pastures in the southern rangelands have regenerated throughout most of the districts including the notoriously dry Magadi area in Kajiado and livestock is recovering rapidly. In Maasailand, livestock owning families are returning to normal living conditions but milk yields are not yet fully recovered.

Conversely, the North and East continue to exhibit signs of drought and there is insufficient pasture, browse and surface water for livestock in Turkana, Marsabit, Moyale, parts of Samburu, Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir and northern Divisions of Garissa and Tana River districts. Drought related livestock mortality, lowered production and low market prices are continuing and many communities continue to be forced to migrate outside their normal range in search of food and water which is increasing tensions and violence.

Cattle raiding has increased between the Samburu and Meru and the Samburu and Borana in the northern Meru district and Isiolo and Marsabit district. There are reports from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) that hundreds of herdsmen from Isiolo, Garissa and Wajir are invading the Shaba National Reserve in search of water. The KWS is trying to expel the animals which will affect the delicate ecosystem. A similar influx has been reported around the Mount Kenya National Park.

According to FAO, there are no major disease outbreaks overall that can be attributed to the drought but prevention activities are still required in all pastoral areas. An evaluation is underway of the livestock projects undertaken during 2000 and DFID and FAO are currently finalising projects to support livestock.


UNICEF reports a shortfall of 1,000MT of Corn Soya Blend (CSB) for February. March and April could similarly experience shortfalls in the pipeline. NGOs and other partners have been requested to source supplementary food to alleviate the situation.

A UNICEF/World Vision/MoH survey is ongoing in Turkana but the nutritional situation appears to have stabilised. It is planned to convert the wet-feeding programme run by the Islamic Centre in Lodwar to a weekly supplementary dry ration distribution centre.

The results of two nutrition surveys conducted in Marsabit by MEDAIR during January show that the global acute malnutrition rate has decreased from 31% to 21% in North Horr but increased from 29% to 31% in Loyangalani. The severe acute malnutrition rate in Loyangalani is up from 3.76% to 5.32%. Similarly, the UNICEF supported Catholic mission wet feeding centre in Loyangalani has reported increasing numbers of children. Possible reasons for the increase are lack of rains impacting on livestock deaths, bad hygiene and poor household usage of supplementary foods. The non-distribution of supplementary food between November 2000 and January 2001 is also thought to have contributed to the situation. Tearfund is launching a wet feeding programme in Kalach and Bubisa and is discussing taking over the TFC at Kargi. MEDAIR is pulling out of the area due to lack of funding. Supplementary feeding programmes (SFP) in Mandera and Moyale are expected to phase out after three months pending results of a resurvey on malnutrition rates which is planned for March. Action Against Hunger has completed a survey in Mandera and the results are expected to be released shortly.

Following reports of starving children in Danaba, on the border between Wajir and Mandera, the MoH, SC(UK) and UNICEF launched a quick assessment. According to SC(UK), evidence of widespread malnutrition was not found but in response to the serious lack of water, UNICEF will organise weekly water tankering. Three new SFPs have been opened in Wajir: Buna, Korondille and Arbajahan. SC(UK) is reporting increasing numbers of severely affected children coming from the east where there is no humanitarian organisation currently operating. Handicap International and the MoH will open a new Therapeutic Feeding Centre (TFC) at Garissa Provincial Hospital.

Following a District-wide assessment carried out by IFRC in Machakos during the month of February 2001 it was decided to concentrate relief efforts in the Masinga Division. The German Red Cross is currently planning to distribute 170Mt of UNIMIX per month (18.000 beneficiaries) in the most affected sub-locations of Masinga and Ndithini during the months of March and April 2001.


Due to delays in the implementation of projects UNICEF reports that a new funding disbursement mechanism has been jointly designed with the GoK. The system is to be tested in some districts and it is hoped that the project implementation process will be speeded up as a result. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Water has elaborated minimum standards relating to Emergency Water interventions and the document is to be circulated to NGOs in the water sector coordination group. A DFID supported Water survey, is currently underway and will cover all the Districts where emergency interventions are ongoing.

Several water projects have recently been agreed upon. The Catholic Diocese of Nakuru is about to drill boreholes in Wajir (2) and Garrisa (3) Northern Aid will drill in Garissa (2) and Isiolo (1). The Kenyan Army is continuing the construction of two boreholes in Marsabit and drilling has been completed of boreholes in Kajiado (1), Wajir (1), Marsabit (1), by UNICEF, the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru and Northern Aid respectively.

UNICEF and OXFAM Quebec have signed an agreement on water tankering in Mandera, focusing on the Tabaka area where water scarcity has been coupled with refugee and IDP influxes.



Insecurity continues to be a big issue in most of the northern regions of Kenya and influences the effectiveness of aid operations in several of the districts. There are 7 districts of part districts officially under UN Security Phase 3 rules and regulations and 7 districts or part districts officially under Security Phase 1, yet operational under Phase 3 rules. This effectively covers 60% of the country, but only 25% of the general population [see map]. The UN has made mandatory that all UN vehicles travelling in official Phase 3 and operational Phase 3 districts travel with police escort and have effective communication equipment. This advice is also recommended to NGOs working in the same areas.

Tension persists in Moyale in the border area after the recent incursions by Ethiopian militias. Extra security forces have been drafted to the bolster the security along the border with Ethiopia.

Please see map for Kenya UN Security Levels

Convoy arrangements have been strengthened on the Lodwar - Kapenguria road in Turkana. Standby escort vehicles at Kapenguria and Lodwar are available for hire for UN and NGOs. Requests for this service should be made 48 hours in advance. Costs are to be met by the organisation requesting the services of the escort vehicles.

Following extensive peace building between the Ajurana and Garre communities in Mandera/Wajir districts, a draft resolution was agreed. The area continues to remain off-limits for the time being but the situation is being closely monitored.

In West Pokot, cattle raiding and banditry has resumed between the Baringo Pokot and the Marakwet in the northeastern part of the Kerio valley. Access to this area is currently not permitted.




The Seventh Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa (Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda) was held, 14-16 February, in Morogoro, Tanzania. Organised by the Drought Monitoring Centre Nairobi, the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction and the World Meteorological Organisation and funded by USAID, the participants developed the seasonal climate outlook for the period, March to May 2001. In summary, "There is increased likelihood of near-normal rainfall over most of the Greater Horn of Africa sub region for the period March-May 2001…It should be recalled that some parts of the sub-region have experienced drought conditions for the past several seasons. In some of these areas, the accumulated rainfall may not be offset even if normal rainfall conditions are realised".

With regards to Kenya, there is increased likelihood of near-normal to above normal rainfall over southeastern, western and extreme northern Kenya, near normal to below normal rainfall over central, northern and eastern Kenya.


The Africa Regional Office (ARO) of USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) held meetings with key partners as part of the process of developing its regional strategy for the Horn of Africa, 13-14 February. Issues addressed included Food Security and Health and participants were invited to contribute ideas on areas OFDA should focus on in drafting its three-year plan.


A two day seminar on small arms which commenced, 12 February, brought together senior officials from the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa to discuss ways of enhancing legal controls on the possession and transfer of small arms and light weapons in the countries of the two regions. The meeting was a follow-up of the Nairobi Declaration and Implementation Plan which affirms the need for states to formulate a common strategy in tackling small arms proliferation. According to a report in The Nation (14 February) the Chief Government of Kenya Firearms Licensing Officer attributed much of the arms influx on "refugees immigrating from neighbouring war-torn countries."



The results of the three week government and inter-agency mission which commenced 15 January to assess the impact of the short rains on the worst drought affected districts have been drafted into a report. The final report will be presented to the KFSM, 22 February. Initial findings indicate that the effects of the drought will extend beyond 2001 as incomes for many people have been drastically reduced. Due to the failure of the 2000 harvest food shortages are expected during the traditionally lean period until July/August but an accurate assessment is not possible until the after the start of the long rains in April/May. Other main points of the draft report include the low household access to milk particularly in Samburu, Marsabit and Wajir. Longer term solutions are needed to address many of the food security issues. Small herd sizes meant that many pastoralists need additional cash to sustain them particularly in the northern pastoral districts where opportunities for many are said to be limited. Consequently access to cash is problematic and therefore food insecurity a constant threat.


The UN’s Regional Humanitarian Coordinator (RHC) for the Drought in the Horn of Africa, Mr. Bronek Szynalski, spent three days in Nairobi on his first visit of his new appointment. The purpose of his mission was to participate in the launch of the Joint GoK/UN Follow-up Appeal to Combat the Drought Stress in Kenya and to meet with partners to discuss regional cross-cutting as well as Kenya-specific issues.

The RHC, Mr. Bronek Szynalski, took up his duties 7 February. Based in Addis Ababa, Mr Szynalski, will support Ms. Catherine Bertini in her work as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Drought and work closely with the Governments in the region on all issues related to the international response to the drought, in order to ensure security and safe and unimpeded access to the populations in need. His full terms of reference are available from OCHA Kenya.

The new UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Edward Paul Andre de la Porte, will commence his duties in Kenya during March.



ECHO has announced the approval of 2 million ecu to fund the water and livestock sectors. The NGO, CORDAID will receive support for its Community Development Trust Fund (CDTF) in the livestock and water sectors. This micro-project fund has existed since 1996 and has been reinforced by ECHO and EC as a result of the drought. UNA/COOPI have also received funding for livestock and water projects in Samburu, Marsabit and Moyale.

The German Embassy has announced that Kshs 3.7 million will be disbursed to purchase relief food for people in North Horr and Maikona in Marsabit district. A local Catholic Church will implement the three-month distribution.



Severe flooding affected five districts in Western Kenya at the end of January. The floods, which affected some 150,000 according to UNICEF, are now subsiding. Families, which were displaced, are now returning to their homes. A Ministry of Health/ UNICEF assessment mission to Naivasha, Nyando, Rachuonyo and Busia took place at the end of January and reported that although the flood waters had mostly subsided an estimated 1,500 are still in need of assistance in varying proportions in terms of destruction of property, loss of food stocks and agricultural inputs, disruption of schooling, water source contamination and destruction of pit latrines. The MoH is expecting further outbreaks According to the MoH from the start of the year up to 26 January, there were 390 confirmed cholera cases with 12 deaths - a case fatality rate of 2.8%. The breakdown is as follows: Machakos - 367 cases/5 deaths, Kapchorwa - 20 cases/6 deaths and Nairobi - 3 cases /1 death of cholera and malaria and is launching a media campaign to promote awareness of preventive measures. There has been a reported 50-60% increase in malaria cases compared to two months previously. The GoK has distributed some food and UNICEF provided some assistance in terms of blankets, high-energy biscuits, chlorine powder, oral rehydration salts and insecticide treated bed nets.


On 28 January, following violence during demonstrations on the islands of Pemba and Zanzibar, refugees started arriving in Kenya. In response to the arrival by boat of the refugees UNHCR sent a mission, 2 February to Shimoni on the Kenya coast to assess the needs. According to the Press, there are 16 Members of Parliament amongst the arrivals and injuries reported include bullet wounds. UNHCR, who describes the people as qualifying for refugee status, is expecting an increase in numbers. The GoK, NGOs and UNHCR are providing emergency supplies. UNHCR is concerned about the current lack of shelter. Some tents have been provided but with the daily influx of people the situation is reported to be "getting desperate". According to press reports (Daily Nation - 16 February) the GoK intends to transfer the 1,187 refugees to the established refugee camps of Dadab and Kakuma.



A recent World Bank report says that AID to Africa has reduced substantially throughout the 1990s. A press release on African Development Indicators 2001, which is an annual compilation of key African social and economic data said "the slowdown in growth was the result of regional and civil wars, poor governance in some countries, and serious external shocks such as the rapid hike in oil prices at the same time that export earnings from primary commodities collapsed. Moreover, the report warms that growth is below the 5 percent annual level needed to prevent a rise in the numbers of poor people on the continent."
The report can be accessed on the web.


The results have been published of the 1999 Census. The population of Kenya is currently 28.7 million (14,481,018 female/14,205,589 male). The results of the census show that the national growth rate has declined from 3.4% in 1969 to 2.9% in 1999, probably attributed to reduced fertility rates and AIDS.


1 March: Pastoralist stakeholders’ workshop for the PRSP. This will follow up on the issues discussed at the Wajir and Nakuru workshops to be held, 23 February. A wide range of participants is expected and the Office of the President will issue invitations. (Further details: Fatuma Abdikadir, Pastoralist Strategy Group, Office of the President, E-mail:

7 March: UN/Donor breakfast meeting to discuss the UN Donor Alert (Details:

2-6 April: 28th session of the UN Sub-committee on Nutrition, hosted at the Stanley Hotel, Nairobi by WFP. (For further details and participation contact: Sonya Rabeneck e-mail:


21-22 FebruaryCIDA representatives from Nairobi and Canada will visit Lokichoggio, Kakuma and Baringo

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