Samburu County is classified in the Stressed food insecurity phase (IPC Phase 2) in both pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihood zones with localized pockets in Nachola, Nyiro and Ndoto wards classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The proportion of households with poor and borderline food consumption score was 53 percent meaning that a majority of the households had lower than normal meals per day and less diverse foods in their diet. The Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) for Samburu was at 14.5 percent which is classified in a serious phase according to WHO standards. The mean Coping Strategy Index (CSI) was 18 implying that households are relying on less severe coping strategies to bridge their food gap.
Mass out-migration of livestock was observed to Laikipia and Isiolo Counties and abnormal migratory routes towards Mt. Kenya and Nyandarua. Forage has deteriorated in both pastoral and agro pastoral livelihood zones. Unusual livestock mortalities attributed to the prevailing dry spell have been witnessed in pockets of Samburu north particularly in Kawop where mortality was three percent compared with a normal of two percent. Trekking distances to water points increased for both domestic and livestock use as a result of drying up of surface water sources and low yielding volumes of underground sources due to ongoing dry spell. Cost of water in some areas was high particularly in Baragoi at Ksh 30 per 20 litre jerrican. Water consumption per person per day declined across the livelihood zones. Main markets are operational with food commodities; however, the livestock volumes traded are low in the markets since the livestock traders were not willing to buy weak and emaciated animals that cannot trek long distances to terminal markets.
The main drivers of food insecurity within the county include poor performance of the 2016 short rains which impacted negatively on crops, forage regeneration and low recharge level of water sources. Insecurity in some pockets has been a key constrain in accessing some available pastures and even led to resource based conflicts that resulted to loss of livelihood assets by some households in Nachola, Marti and Archers Post.