Lamu County is classified in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) phase of food insecurity with a majority of the households having minimally adequate food consumption but unable to afford some essential non-food expenditures. However Lamu East is classified in the Crisis (IPC Phase 3) phase having significant food consumption gaps, and experiencing adverse effects of drought on water and pasture availability. In the month of December 2016, approximately 20 and 46 percent of the households had poor and borderline food consumption scores respectively with a mean Coping Strategies Index (CSI) of 22 implying that most households were frequently engaged in consumption based coping strategies Food availability was significantly reduced by the poor performance of the short rains in the county with maize experiencing total crop failure and the expected harvest for green grams and cowpeas is 2.9 percent and 2.5 percent of LTA respectively. Household maize stocks are currently at 43 percent of the long term average. Milk production had reduced by 50 percent to one litre per day.
Food access was impacted by high maize prices that were 26 percent higher than the LTA and 29 percent higher than 2015 prices. The terms of trade were 14 percent below the long term average signifying a decrease in household purchasing power especially in the pastoral and agro pastoral livelihoods. Trekking distances to domestic water sources increased from the normal three to 15 kilometres with scarcity also increasing the cost of water from Ksh 5 to 50 per 20 litre jerrycan.
Food utilization deteriorated from the previous year. There was an increase in morbidity for children under five years of age and for adults reducing their capacity to absorb required macro and micronutrients from consumed food. There was a reduction in immunization coverage from 80 percent in 2015 to 72 percent in 2016 and in Vitamin A supplementation from 49.5 in 2015 to 38 in 2016. The proportion of children at risk of malnutrition increased to 4.2 percent in 2016 compared to 3.2 percent in 2015 due to reducing food consumption and dietary diversity.
The major contributing factors to food insecurity in the county include; poor performance of the short rains, pasture and browse depletion, water scarcity, insecurity, high food commodity prices and decrease in livestock prices.