Kenya: Kajiado Central, North and Loitokitok districts drought monthly bulletin, Dec 2009

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Situation overview

- Moderate to intense rainfall was received in most parts of Loitokitok, Kajiado and Ngong districts during the last dekad of the month. An average of 129.1mm was recorded.

- Water availability for agriculture, livestock and domestic improved as result of the enhanced rains in the last two weeks of the month of December, recharging all temporary surface water points such as water ponds, dams and pans had water, reducing the dependence and reliance on boreholes.

- By the close of the month there was marked improvement in water availability with corresponding reduction in return distance (less than 10 Km in most areas to 3 Km) , improving livestock body condition, some migration of livestock into the district and average cattle prices increasing by 31.3 per cent from Ksh4,520 in November to Ksh6,584 in December 2009. However, the lack of sufficient regeneration of pastures has resulted in clustering of in areas that received rains in November negating the gains of pastures regeneration. The situation is expected to improve in the coming months

- Livestock mortalities were estimated at 50%, close to 60% 0f some individivulas households have lost close to 90% of their herds.

- There was improvement in early planted crop in the high potential areas of Loitokitok and Ngong, with beans and potatoes maturing, while maize was at knee height to tussling/forming cobs to hard dough stage. However, in the marginal rain-fed crop growing the performance of crops was poor, as result of the extended dry spell. Kajiado is a net food importer, with close 90% of the household food needs being from purchases.

- Milk production remained low, maize and beans were available but at high price (maize and beans prices were at Ksh42 and Ksh80 per kg respectively). Continuing maize export ban from Tanzania and poor pastoralists' terms of trade exacerbated the deficits.

- EMOP relief food operation experienced severe food pipeline break as no food distribution was undertaken in November and December 2009 and the pipeline is expected to be restored by January 2010 with a reduced ration level (50%)

- Flooding was reported in Ngong (Magadi, Isinya and Ewuaso) and Loitokitok, causing infrasture damage by the close of the month ( bridges, roads, dams and dwellings ) and loss of lives ( 4 in Ewuaso Kedong and Magadi).

- Cholera outbreak was reported in Central and Ngong district particularly in Kware Slums in Ongata Rongai (Ngong), Bissell, Ilmarba, Lorngosua, Kumpa, Meto, Ngatatiek and Ilpartimaro ( Central). 4 deaths and 202 suspected cases were reported while 6 cases were confirmed.

- Charcoal burning and sand harvesting declined owing to constant disruption by heavy rainfall. Demand for labor in crop growing areas improved; rates ranged between Ksh120 and 150.

- The nutrition status of children below 5 years remained high, with percentage of those rated at the risk of malnutrition (based on the Mid Upper Arm Circumference -MUAC < 135mm measurement) recorded at 14.98 from 14.97 in November.

- The drought warning stage was at alarm and improving in all livelihood zones. The food security status is rated as highly food insecure and recovery is pegged on the rains continuing through December and preferably into January 2010.