This IPC projection update for Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) region, covering the March to June period, was triggered by several cumulative factors. Firstly, the expected March-April-May seasonal rainfall amount received across most livelihood zones was below the long-term seasonal averages and exacerbated by poor spatial distribution. This negatively affected rangeland and also sparked resource-based conflicts. These resource-based conflicts are coupled with rising food commodity prices due to depressed crop production that coincides with the peak lean season for most Arid and Semi-Arid Livelihood counties. Overall, these factors indicate an increase in the number of people facing high levels of acute food insecurity to 4.1 million, over the 3.5 million initially projected over the same period. This includes 1.1 million in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) and 3 million in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis).
According to the revised assumptions regarding Acute Malnutrition (AMN), the previously forecasted change (deterioration) in the AMN situation in eight counties will likely continue following the same trend. The only exception is Mandera County, where new evidence from a recent SMART survey conducted in March found a prevalence of a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) of 34,7%.
Therefore, the county is now classified in an Extremely Critical situation (IPC AMN Phase 5) from March to May. About 942,500 children aged 6-59 months are affected by acute malnutrition and need treatment. In Mandera alone, the overall number of children in need of treatment has increased to nearly 126,140, representing an increase of 30%. The decline in household consumption and particularly of dairy products due to reduced mild availability has expected implications for child malnutrition, but it is not the only factor. High morbidity to diseases affecting the Respiratory Tract and water-borne diseases are also a major driver.
In Garissa, Baringo, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, and Isiolo counties, the situation is expected to remain within IPC AMN Phase 4 (Critical) until the end of June.
In Tana River County, the situation is likely to move from IPC AMN Phase 3 (Serious) to IPC AMN Phase 4. The possible continued worsening forecast in the eight counties is linked to an increased percentage of households facing acute food insecurity, based on the projection update conducted concurrently with the acute malnutrition update. Milk consumption has significantly reduced and is expected to worsen further. In addition, during the projected period, diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections and malaria cases could reach 3,000 to 10,000 per month. In Tana River, these factors are all at play, but the further deterioration into IPC AMN Phase 4 will likely be linked to the Global Acute Malnutrition prevalence nearly above IPC AMN Phase 3 threshold.
The acute malnutrition situation is expected to continue deteriorating during the projected period. Analysis on key drivers of acute malnutrition in Mandera found acute respiratory infection was of concern, with a prevalence as high as 35,4%, and a considerable decrease in milk consumption from nearly 1,2 litres in January, February and March from the previous dry years to 0,4 to 0,3 litres in January and March of the current year. These factors are exacerbated by the low coverage of humanitarian response programmes relative to the widespread needs throughout Mandera.