Challenges to achieving food security—climate-related shocks, high food prices, and localized conflict—have remained prevalent in Kenya in the first half of 2012. The number of refugees hosted in the country has continued to increase (although at a far slower rate than in 2011) as a result of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia and conflict in Sudan and South Sudan. However, there has been a general improvement in the situation since the peak of the 2011 drought crisis which left 3.75 million people food- insecure. Drought conditions were relieved following the generally good performance of the October to December 2011 short rains and by the current 2012 long rains. The 2011 short rains led to a reduction in the number of food-insecure people requiring food assistance from 3.75 million to 2.2 million people. The improved food security outlook risks a setback due to the late onset of the long rains season (March-May) in some parts of the country that are already classified as being in stressed or crisis phases. Overall, the nutrition situation in the arid and semi-arid lands improved significantly thanks to the good 2011 short rains and sustained humanitarian actions. The exception to this national trend was seen in areas of the north-east owing in part to a disruption in humanitarian aid by insecurity and impassable roads during the rainy season.
In addition to longstanding inter-communal tensions surrounding competition for resources in some arid and semi-arid land areas, new dimensions of conflict threaten the humanitarian situation in the country. The ongoing process of delineating constituency boundaries and the process of devolution are emerging as key triggers for conflict. This is of particular concern in the time preceding general elections, especially in areas that were affected most severely by the 2007/2008 post-election violence and where past unresolved issues remain. Pastoralist counties in the north and north-east are also facing higher risk of conflict due to the additional threats posed by the offensive against Al-Shabaab across the Kenya-Somalia border.
Heightened insecurity in the first half of the year, particularly in the north-east and in and around the Dadaab refugee camp, has confronted the humanitarian community with a number of key operational constraints. The overwhelming and growing caseload of refugees (numbering 526,032 as of 10 June) and associated insecurity have prompted aid agencies to develop other aid delivering strategies that include increased involvement of refugee leaders.
In May, representatives of more than 80 organizations, including Government ministries, United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations participated in the mid-year review of theEmergency Humanitarian Response Plan to review the analysis made in late 2011 and to reflect on the ongoing response. Individual sectors have reviewed their plans and the projects proposed within the sectors.
Although requirements have decreased or remain unchanged for most sectors following the decrease in the number of food-insecure people, the overall amount requested at the mid-year review has increased by 4%, primarily due to increases in the food sector. These are primarily due to rising logistical costs and budget readjustments following confirmation of the new protracted relief and recovery operation, as well as sustained interventions in some areas and increases in the cash-for-asset programme.
The Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan is underpinned by a three-year humanitarian strategy (2011-2013) which aims to work toward improved resilience within humanitarian aid through disaster risk reduction approaches and stronger linkages with development programmes. This year’s mid-year review also marks the midpoint of the three-year strategy. Unless major changes occur in the humanitarian context, consolidated humanitarian programming will be phased out towards the end of 2013. In order to meet the strategic objectives of the three-year strategy, sufficient funding—especially for transitional, resilience-aimed programmes—is critical. The 2012+ Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan at midyear is requesting $795 million for humanitarian response to the end of 2012.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.