HIGHLIGHTS (30 May 2020)
Between 3 and 3.5 million people are projected to be food insecure in Kenya in June and July.
Since the beginning of the country’s ‘long rains’ season in early March, nearly 302,000 people have been affected, including over 211,000 displaced.
According to a survey in five informal settlements in Nairobi, the fear of being stigmatized if infected with COVID-19 was extremely high.
Women in urban informal settlements are disproportionately shouldering the burden of social distancing and lockdown measures.
Out of the country's 47 counties, 32 have reported COVID-19 cases. Risk communication, laboratory testing, and contact tracing have been identified as key challenges.
BACKGROUND (30 May 2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic—which is occurring against a backdrop of increased humanitarian needs due to back-to-back drought, floods and a desert locust upsurge—is already exacerbating vulnerabilities across Kenya, particularly for the urban poor.
Kenya reported its first case of COVID-19 on 12 March 2020 and, as of 29 May, 1,745 cases had been confirmed and 62 deaths reported. Out of the country's 47 counties, 32 have reported COVID-19 cases. About 85 per cent of the confirmed cases are local transmissions. Over 73,000 tests have been conducted so far. Mombasa and Nairobi Counties have the highest attack rates of COVID-19 at 42.1 and 20.7 per 100,000 populations respectively when compared to 3.1 per 100,000 for the whole country and need enhanced interventions. Risk communication, laboratory testing, and contact tracing have been identified as key challenge.
There are seven confirmed COVID-19 cases in the refugee camps in Kenya. In Dadaab, there are six imported COVID-19 cases, as confirmed by the Government of Kenya. The individuals were originally quarantined, but after testing positive, they were moved to an isolation facility. They are all asymptomatic. On 22 May, the Government of Kenya confirmed that a refugee who was traveling to Kakuma refugee camp had also tested positive for COVID-19. The individual, who was already in a quarantine facility in Kakuma, has been moved to an isolation centre and is asymptomatic. In both camps, in line with the protocols of the Government of Kenya, a response, including contact tracing, is underway, supported by the County Ministries of Health. The Ministry of Health’s National Multi-Agency Command Centre visited Dadaab and Kakuma on the week of 18 May to discuss and assess the preparedness in the camps with the County authorities and the teams on the ground.
As of 21 May, public health teams from the local county governments and the Ministry of Health are working to control cholera outbreaks in Marsabit (268 cases reported) and in Turkana (222 cases reported) counties. According to the Ministry of Health, as a result of the outbreak 13 people have lost their lives. Since 1 January 2020, cholera outbreaks have been reported in five counties: Garissa, Marsabit, Muranga, Turkana and Wajir. There are increased concerns that people leaving in areas experiencing rains and flooding are potentially exposed to diseases.
COVID-19 Perceptions, Prevention Practices, and Impact Responses from third round of data collection in five Nairobi informal settlements (Kibera, Huruma, Kariobangi, Dandora and Mathare) highlighted that the fear of being stigmatized if infected with COVID-19 was extremely high overall, and significantly higher for women and the elderly. Food insecurity remains a major issue as a higher proportion report skipping a meal in May (74 per cent).
The unfolding of the locust infestation remains extremely alarming in East Africa and particularly in Kenya as it continues to face an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods. New swarms from current breeding will form from mid-June onwards, coinciding with the start of the harvest. In Kenya, efforts are ongoing to stop the spreading; ground and aerial control operations continue against hopper bands in the north-west (Turkana and Marsabit). A few late-maturing swarms were seen south of Lodwar and new infestations were found along the Tana River where hopper bands are present.
The March-April-May (MAM) 2020 seasonal rainfall has ceased over most parts of the country except over the Lake Victoria Basin, the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Central and South Rift Valley, Coastal Strip and parts of the Highlands East of the Rift Valley. An assessment of the rainfall recorded from 1 March to 26 May 2020 indicates that the rainfall performance was far above normal over most parts of the country. Several meteorological stations in the country have recorded rainfall that is more than 75 per cent of their seasonal Long-Term Means (LTMs) for the MAM season. The intense rainy season has so far affected 59,032 households (301,851 people) including the displacement of 42,329 households (211,465 people). The impact has been felt in 43 counties as the assessment of the destruction is highlighting a difficult situation, around 27,000 livestock have been lost while 30,615 acres of productive land have been submerged. Almost 32,000 households have reported destroyed houses.
Humanitarian access is Kenya is affected by movement restrictions, as well as health regulations, imposed by the Government to contain the spread of COVID-19. Currently, Nairobi, Mombasa, Killifi and Mandera counties are under lockdown. The Government of Kenya has also established an official lockdown of Dadaab and Kakuma camps since 29 April. Humanitarian access in/out of the refugee camps is controlled by the Government and UNHCR to protect the vulnerable population from infection. The first passenger flights to/from Dadaab and Kakuma, took place on 29 May 2020, allowing for a rotation of essential staff in the camps, especially for COVID-19 activities.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.