Kenya

Report on Kenya Red Cross food security projects

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1.0.0 Background

In Kenya, arid and semi-arid lands (ASALS) cover 80 per cent of the land where annual rainfall varies from 200 to 500mm making periodical droughts part of the country’s climate system. The Kenya Meteorological Department raised a red alert in 2010 anticipating a shift in weather patterns which would lead to a prolonged dry spell and drought in late 2010 and well into 2011. In late 2010, inhabitants of Northern Kenya who are mostly nomadic pastoralists were observed to be migrating in search of water and pasture.

At the time, a Kenya Red Cross Society’s (KRCS) assessment indicated that in some areas, water points were drying up rapidly. Vegetation around the low lying regions had been exhausted by livestock forcing herdsmen to migrate. Women, children and the elderly were left behind and had to endure hardship due to water shortages and inflated food prices. In early 2011, routine seasonal rains were not experienced. This escalated the situation as vegetation, and water pans dried up. Mandera, Turkana, Marsabit, and Moyale were amongst the hardest hit areas. Kenya Red Cross branches in these areas reported increased livestock deaths, acute food shortages and increased population migration due to depleting pasture and water resources. At least 20 people were reported to have lost their lives as a result of drought related effects. The situation worsened by the day and on 30th

May 2011, the Government of Kenya declared the Drought in Northern Kenya a National Disaster.
Further the UN declared this the worst drought in the last 60 years in the Horn of Africa.
Education in these areas was greatly affected with many schools without feeding programmes having been closed. By July 2011, at least 3.75 million Kenyans in the ASAL region were threatened with death from starvation due to drought. Over 385,000 children below the age of 5 years from 13 districts were suffering acute malnutrition. Turkana had experienced a malnutrition rate of up to 37.8 %. This was one of the highest recorded in 20 years. It was more than double the World Health Organization (WHO) emergency threshold of 15%.