Kenya Humanitarian Update Issue 4, 1 - 30 Apr 2001


  • Four aid workers in UN car killed in ambush
  • NGOs appeal for food funding
  • Heavy rainfall in most northern pastoral districts
  • Food security improves in arable areas.
  • Drought not yet over

(Source: ALRMP)

The prevalence of small arms and the inter-tribal conflicts raging in various parts of the country are taking their toll as highlighted by the murders last week of 4 aid workers in Samburu district (see below). Peace and reconciliation activities as well as controls on small arms should be priority areas of focus for Kenya. Already some initiatives are taking off and efforts to maximize resources and minimize duplication are underway by church groups and NGOs.

Nairobi was the focus for a series of high profile meetings as 20 of the 25 UN Agencies, funds and programmes met for the twice-yearly Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) 3-4 April. Chaired by UN Secretary-General Koffi Annan, the participants discussed the need for mobilization of all actors against AIDS in Africa and ways of strengthening system-wide support for sustainable development on the continent. In addition the ECHA meeting was held which looked at Somalia and Burundi and UN Special Envoy for the drought in the Horn of Africa Ms. Bertini met with donors to discuss the drought in the Horn of Africa.

Poor funding of the Donor Alert prompted 42 NGOs to issue a joint press release, 11 April, calling on donors to fund the food sector. With such high dependence on food distributions and an expected reliance on food aid for several months in some areas, there is concern that the advances in stabilizing the food security situation of many people may be knocked back as food supplies dwindle.

The food sector, however, is far better funded than the other sectors in the Appeal, notably the non-food sectors of water, health and nutrition. This issue was raised during a donor meeting, 4 April, with the UN Special Envoy for the drought in the Horn of Africa, Ms. Catherine Bertini. It was pointed out by donors that these sectors were also priority areas for them but that funding often went to NGOs. Tracking these contribution and the issues of more NGOs involvement in the Appeals was discussed and raised as issues to follow up.

Reports from the ten districts covered by the Arid Lands Resource Management Project (ALRMP) for the month of March indicate that the drought situation requires continued monitoring. Inputs for livestock and human health are priority recommendations in the majority of the districts and the monitoring of security, plus support to peace and reconciliation initiatives also rate highly.

The Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Drought in the Horn of Africa convened a meeting of OCHA units in the region, 23-24 April in Addis Ababa, to discuss the future of the regional structure in terms of the drought. Reports from the participants acknowledged that the drought in the region cannot be declared over until at least August when the success or not of the long rains can be assessed.



"If we don’t keep the response going, we could be condemning people to a lifetime of destitution and hunger", says Krishnan Unny, delivering food with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Tana River

The long rains season which is the key production season in Kenya, is fully underway with heavier rainfall than normal being reported in the key arable regions as well as parts of the northwestern pastoral districts according to FEWS (April 12, 2001). Rainfall in the pastoral districts, however, is still below expectations. Improved food security is reported in arable areas due to favourable short rains production due to the extended season, although in the marginal agricultural areas which were affected by the drought food security is likely to be undermined by the rapid disposal of crops at low market prices. Whilst the rains have raised prospects for pastoralists recovery, the food security situation remains precarious due to the cumulative effects of poor rainy seasons. It is too early to assess the performance of the rains but the quantity and distribution of rainfall in April and May will be the indicator of the quality of the season. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) has reported that the planting of key crops is underway and should be completed by May 2001 Of concern is that the food aid supply is only sufficient until the month of May and WFP reports that a break in the food aid distributions is likely due to pipeline problems. Of concern is the lack of vegetable oil, which is now unavailable in all EMOP districts. In response the GoK has pledged to supplement the June allocation. WFP reports, however, that the pledges for the period, July-December are encouraging. Forty-two NGOs issued a joint press release, Wednesday, 11 April appealing for support to WFP’s food appeal. Gaining excellent media coverage, it is hoped that donors will respond positively to the ongoing needs.

WFP Food for work projects are projected to start in the six districts no longer covered by the General Food distribution, namely, Tharaka, Mbeere, Kitui, Machakos, Mwingi, Makueni.

Streamlining of the Community Based Food Distribution and Targeting is underway with the training of lead and partner agencies food monitors who will train relief committees - the objective being to better identify most vulnerable members of the community, problems and possible solutions.


WFP will launch its Participatory Vulnerability Profiling (PVP) in May as part of the Standard Analytical Framework (SAF) to measure chronic vulnerability. The PVP is the community-based, primary data collection and analysis activity that follows the literature review and the secondary data analysis in the SAF assessment of the incidence and causes of chronic vulnerability. After training 2-4 May, six teams will be dispatched to 12 priority districts, namely Turkana, West Pokot, Marsabit, Mandera, Samburu, Wajir, Mwingi, Isiolo, Kwale, Kajiado, Siaya and Migori for three weeks gathering data which will be used to cross-reference the information gathered from its secondary data collection. While in the field, the teams will administer the PVP survey instrument, as well as obtain information on the status of the emergency. This will facilitate the Kenya Food Security Steering Group’s (KFSSG) planning of food aid needs for the July - December, 2001 in these districts. The final analysis and report should be completed by the third week of June. (Sources: WFP, FAO, FEWSNET)


An outbreak of foot and mouth has been reported in Isiolo and West Pokot and is likely to affect livestock in neighbouring districts. The press reported that the GoK has issued an alert, reduced the costs of vaccination and will monitor the movement of animals (East African Standard, 27/04/01).

An IDS project supported by OCHA and DFID to look at the issue of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa are coming to the end of a four week preliminary assessment.

Conducting field work in Ethiopia and discussing with partners working in Kenya and Somalia the project will commence in June for an initial period of 6 months. The objective of the project is to establish a network of people in pastoral communities to

ensure that the needs of people who live by pastoralism are heard and that they are enabled to participate in national dialogue and in dialogue with agencies who wish to implement relief and development activities. One success already in Kenya has been the active involvement of the pastoralist strategy group in the PRSP process.



Nutritional survey results from several divisions in Turkana, central Mandera, Wajir and Maikona in Marsabit indicate that overall the nutritional situation has improved significantly, due in the most part to relief interventions. Members of the Health and Nutrition sub-group warn, however, that while there is grounds for optimism pulling out too soon should be avoided, as many people remain dependent on relief assistance. Provisional results of the nutritional survey in El Wak show a global rate of 28% and severe rate of 2% (source AAH), while in Mandera Central the global rate showed 20.4% and a severe rate of 1.5% (source MSF-Spain). In the district-wide survey in Wajir the results showed 17.2% global rate and 2.1% severe rate (source SC-UK). The full report will be available in May. SC-UK reports that due to limited data on preemergency malnutrition rates it is difficult to know how close to the baseline these figures are and if there is room for improvement. The Wajir Therapeutic Feeding Centre has seen a rise in admissions - 12 form the west and some from the IDPs in Isiolo. This could be attributed to the rains and rising morbidity.


Immunization coverage countrywide is said to be declining and UNICEF with WHO and GAVI are intending to improve the coverage. Areas to be part of an accelerated programme include Turkana, Mandera, Wajir, Ijara, Garissa, Moyale, Marsabit, Samburu and the Nairobi slums.

It has been observed that measles outbreaks in Mandera and Isiolo seem to be affecting older age groups. In response future immunisation campaigns will be targeted at the 6-15 years age group.

An outbreak of cholera in Wajir (5 confirmed cases/ 1 death) has been contained. UNICEF reports that the outbreak could be linked to the poor condition of the water sources and waste disposal methods.

Additional funds have been allocated by UNICEF to support the National Malaria Strategy, primarily through the provision of Insecticide Treated Bednets, but also through support to other malaria control strategies, including early diagnosis and prompt, effective treatment, preventive treatment for pregnant women and epidemic preparedness. (sources: SC(UK), UNICEF)


On 17.04.01 a round table donors meeting took place at WHO Office and discussed the support the Ministry of Health requires to roll out Roll Back Malaria activities to the districts.

The DFID funded draft report on the water sector will be discussed at the next water and sanitation sub-sectoral meeting, 2 May. It is anticipated that recommendations will be put forward to better identify interventions.



A number of representatives from diplomatic missions announced their intention to fund the Donor Alert 2001, during a meeting held between donors and the Special Envoy for the Drought in the Horn of Africa, Ms. Catherine Bertini, 5 April. At the meeting, Ms. Bertini commended donors for their quick action in averting a crisis last year but urged them to continue their support as the emergency is not over. Several key points were raised including the poor funding of the non-food sector. In response several donors pointed out that the non-food sector was also a priority for them and many funded this sector through NGOs directly. The Appeal mechanisms do not currently take into account this funding - therefore donors’ actual contributions are not accurately reflected.

(Source: ALRMP)

Cattle raiding continues to inflict casualties and fuel ethnic tensions in northern Kenya. This together with banditry continues to render the security situation in the droughtaffected areas poor impacting on the operations of humanitarian workers.

An ambush on a local NGO, Samburu Integrated Development Agency (SADIA) at Soito south of Baragoi in Samburu, resulted in the deaths of 4 out of the 5 occupants. A small group of a Turkana raiding party reportedly opened fire as the vehicle, which was loaned by UNFPA, slowed to negotiate a rough section of the road at 16:00hrs, 8 April. The Maralal/South Horr/Loyangalani road is temporarily closed to UN personnel.

Tension in Mandera district is still high due to the ongoing conflict between the Wararsame and the El Deere sub- clans in Bulla Hawa. Forces and alliances are still building up on both sides for an expected conflict in the future due to the collapse of peace discussions among the various tribal elders in Mandera. The conflict between the two sub clans has resulted in the influx of about 10,000 people into Mandera seeking refuge. Kenyan security has been increased and the area administration is monitoring the influx closely to stop the formation of a refugee camp.

Tribal insecurity in Tana River is still high, especially in the south. Lead Agency Food Monitors will have additional local protection when visiting several areas south of Garsen, although this is yet to be put into practice. There are fears that the situation could escalate further with the use of more serious weaponry, training and additional support. Updates are available from UN security. The Garsen/Witu/Mokowe/Lamu road is vulnerable to bandit attacks and extreme caution is recommended until police apprehend the gang responsible.

In West Pokot/Marakwet, increased fighting between the Pokot and Turkana on the border area is the result of failed peace and reconciliation efforts. The President, during a visit to the area, 17 April, announced a one month amnesty and the surrender of illegal weapons but reports indicate that this will not be easily achieved as the weapons are seen to be essential due to the prevailing insecurity. In mid April a large gun battle around Tot in the Kerio valley resulted in 8 deaths and there are fears that a revenge attack for the major attack in March will be launched by the Marakwet on the Pokot. Heavily armed bandits attacked a commercial convoy in Marich Pass, 11 April, injuring two and 14 April, 3 were killed en route to Kakuma from Kitale. All humanitarian partners are urged to travel with special escorts to be arranged through the UN Security Officer. A number of people from both tribes are displaced and living in the bush in the Kerio valley, too afraid to return home. Extreme caution is recommended when travelling through the Kitale/Lodwar/Loki road, there have been attacks reported along this road. UN personnel are recommended to contact the security officer before undertaking the journey.

In Turkana, tensions between Pokot and Turkana are reportedly rising and Turkana are reported to be moving away from the border area. Heavy rains in Moyale and Marsabit are severely hampering road movement. The security situation has been relatively calm overall except for three banditry attacks along the Laisamis road in Marsabit district.

Garisa is reported to be relatively calm, except for isolated incidences of road banditry. However due to the heavy rains being experienced, road movement is slow and treacherous. Extreme caution is recommended when travelling along the Hola/Mombasa road, Garisa/Madogashe road or Mbalamabala road. The UN Security Officer should be contacted before undertaking the journey.



The Emergency Drought Response will be reviewed during May.. The final report will be submitted by 31 May.

UNICEF held a joint workshop between its country offices in Kenya and Ethiopia, 2- 4 April looking at cross-border activities. The findings were . . .



OCHA Kenya undertook a fact-finding mission, 9-12 April, to Marakwet and West Pokot to assess the humanitarian needs in light of the recent ethnic clashes. The area is vulnerable to a variety of inter-ethnic clashes and seven divisions are currently affected. Two health centres, 36 primary schools and 4 secondary schools have been closed as a result of the insecurity and livestock have moved across the border to Uganda and the Mount Elgon area. A recent attack on the Marakwet by the Pokot resulted in 46 deaths and the displacement of some 30,000 people. These people are now living either with relatives or are sheltering in caves in the highland region. Emergency assistance is needed especially for those displaced by the violence, which has taken the form of large-scale cattle rustling. The Murkutwa Emergency and Rehabilitation committee has been formed to respond to the emergency humanitarian needs, and includes representation from the NCCK, World Vision, Red Cross and local community members. Support is being provided to the families who lost relatives on the recent conflict and is currently supporting some 629 families. Land use and pasture availability has been drastically reduced. Agricultural needs include seeds and fertilizer, chemicals and equipment to halt the spread of armyworms. Drugs for livestock and humans are also required and support to the water sector. The Government is pursuing security measures and civil society initiatives are underway to promote peace. (For more details contact OCHA Kenya)


A UNICEF/OCHA mission to Marsabit and Moyale, 4-13 April, found that the malnutrition rates have in general improved although some pockets of poor malnutrition remain. Dependence on food aid persists but of note is the success of the school feeding programme which has resulted in increased primary school enrolment. Health facilities are poor and access to services and availability of drugs in a major constraint for the communities as evidenced by the low immunisation rate of 38%. The rains have resulted in increased water availability and improved pastures. Of note are the problems associated with livestock consumption of polythene wrappers, particularly in urban areas and increases of livestock diseases are also reported requiring immediate interventions. In the agricultural sector a lack of inputs is likely to result in reduced harvests. Recommendations of the mission include the strengthening and coordination of peace and conflict programmes and the repair of solar power equipment In health centres. (For more details contact UNICEF or OCHA Kenya)


EU and ECHO organised a visit to MARSABIT, MANDERA, WAJIR on 9- 10- 11 April inviting UNICEF, WFP, OCHA Kenya, to supervise some water and livestock programs of these districts


The UN’s Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Kenzo Oshima, was in Nairobi, 1-5 April. Whilst his main objective was to chair the Executive Committee for Humanitarian Affairs (ECHA) meeting which focused on Burundi and Somalia, Mr. Oshima met with all the OCHA offices and senior UN and Government of Kenya Officials and participated in the donor meeting chaired by Ms. Bertini.


The refugees from Pemba are awaiting an agreement between the Government of Tanzania (GoT) before returning home. The GoK and UNHCR have made arrangements to transfer the refugees to Daadab refugee camp although the refugees are reticent about leaving the coastal area. Some 1,300 remain at the site in Shimoni while others are staying with relatives.

Following the influx of people into Mandera from Somalia, it has been recommended by both UN and GoK authorities that humanitarian assistance not be delivered at this stage to avoid exerting a pull factor. UNHCR estimates that around 10,000 Somalis have entered the town and are seeking shelter with relatives. The flow of new arrivals has diminished this week. No additional sites have been observed and the local authorities are discouraging the establishment of a refugee camp due to security concerns. There are fears however that the population of Mandera town, which numbers 20,000, are becoming overwhelmed by the influx.


SAFETY & SECURITY, 24 May 2001

Globally, incidences of violence against humanitarian workers are occurring more regularly. In Kenya the recent attack on staff from a national NGO in a UN-registered vehicle in which 4 out of the 5 occupants were murdered has prompted the UN to launch a one-day training session on Kenya-specific safety and security issues. It is anticipated that this will complement the RedR training in June which will look at more general security training by focusing on the situation humanitarian workers are facing during the drought emergency in Kenya.

Funded by WFP and organised jointly with UNON and OCHA, the training is aimed at NGO managerial and project personnel who work in the drought affected districts. It will facilitate the sharing of information about security measures taken by different humanitarian organisations and discuss the risks highlighting some of the measures that should enhance the security of humanitarian workers in the field.

The training is free, includes lunch and will take place at the Nairobi Safari Club, 24 May. For further details and/or a registration form please contact OCHA Kenya or WFP Security Officer Tel: 623803.

AGEING IN AFRICA 23-27 July 2001

Helpage International is planning a training course on Ageing in Africa, 23-27 July. The course, which will last five days, is aimed at a range of professionals who deal with social issues and will provide an introduction to ageing issues and will highlight issues related to social welfare and social security and the impact of conflict and emergencies on older people amongst others.

For further details contact Helpage International Africa Regional Development Centre: Tel: 254 2 444289/446991 or e-mail:



Kenya Red Cross (KRC) has at least 2 branches in each Province of Kenya with a total of 45 branches countrywide. Some of the strongest branches include Nairobi, Kisumu, Machakos, Mombasa, Eldoret, Garissa and Wajir and the organisation is in the middle of a change process and revamping and strengthening the capacity of all of its local branches, currently focusing on radio communications. Focusing on HIV/AIDS, health and disaster preparedness and response, the staff numbers 70 and there are 1-5,000 active volunteers throughout the country. The society, which is the largest national humanitarian organisation in Kenya is able to respond almost immediately as disasters occur through its local branches, coordinated by its headquarters based in Nairobi and works closely with ICRC and IFRC who are the main partners in addition to the European National Societies. Recent interventions include the Sabaki bus crash, the school fire in Machakos and support to the communities involved in clashes in the Kerio valley. In addition to supporting the GoK with its blood transfusion service - through recruitment, training and awareness programmes, the KRC also runs an efficient home based care scheme for HIV/AIDS sufferers in Kisumu funded by the Norwegian Red Cross, in Nakuru funded by the French Red Cross and is about to start a similar programme in Kitale. One of the organisation’s strength is that it has a presence on the ground with some 45 branches and can be amongst the first to react to emergencies, having had experience of inter-ethnic clashes, refugees, drought and floods. (For further information, contact: Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, KRC tel: 503781/9)


2 May: WESCORD, 10am, UNICEF

24 May: One day Safety and Security Training, Nairobi Safari Club Hotel

This update is produced through the contributions of a wide variety of humanitarian organisations working in Kenya. The views expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. To contribute or to subscribe to this report please contact OCHA Kenya


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