The long rains have ended, but many parts of the ASALs are still experiencing a significant deficit in vegetation condition, long distances to water, unusually high food prices, and worrying levels of malnutrition. While there have been some modest improvements on the previous month in some areas – illustrated by the fact that more counties this month are in the alert drought phase than in alarm – conditions are generally far from normal and any recovery is likely to be short-lived. A difficult dry season stretches ahead, particularly for pastoral counties.
The early warning bulletins highlight other risks: insecurity has worsened on the previous month, while the Fall Armyworm and African Armyworm continue to threaten crops in marginal agricultural counties, for some of whom the prospects for the next harvest were already poor.
A recent mid-season assessment concluded that the drought-affected population has reached 3.5 million, an increase from 2.7 million, and that a total of Kshs. 11.1 billion will be required for response measures between July and December 2017. Since the coming dry season will coincide with both the year end in government and the elections, it is essential that mechanisms are found to ensure that counties can sustain essential services throughout this critical period.