UNICEF Kenya Emergency Update Issue 1, Feb 2001

"Kenyan children are counting on us, can we count on you?"

The 2000/01 short rains continued in most areas of the country during the first two weeks of December and extended unexpectedly into January and early February in several short-rains dependent areas of Eastern, and parts of Central, Nyanza and Coast provinces. However the short-rains season has been characterized by exceptionally poor spatial and temporal distribution, particularly in the drought-affected pastoral and parts of the marginal agricultural areas. UNICEF KCO teams recently visited most parts of North-Eastern and Eastern Kenya and found that these areas had received very marginal rain or nothing at all during the expected rainy seasons.

Kenya's short-term food security status is, at the moment favorable. The outlook in the next couple of months is however less clear.

Pastoralists in the northern areas of the country continue to be highly food insecure. The 2000/01 short-rains have been erratic - particularly in Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir and northern Garissa and parts of Samburu and Isiolo districts. Although the on-going interventions by WFP, UNICEF, the GoK and NGOs have significantly reduced food insecurity, pastoralist's livelihoods have been severely eroded by the impact of the extended drought in several cases, stretching over four rainy seasons. (FEWS, 20 January 2001)

Following the launch of the Consolidated Appeal 2001, UN agencies and GOK agreed to increase capacity on non-food sector. UNICEF views the drought in Kenya as a "chronic emergency" and aid agencies have been continuing the similar forms of short-term interventions that have been carried out for the last 30 years. In 2001, UNICEF therefore aims to focus on urgent relief aid as well as strengthening national capacity and local coping mechanisms. UNICEF, together with GOK, aims to continue to play the coordination role on the non-food sector, including health/nutrition, water/sanitation and emergency education.

In general, the food security situation in the country is rather obscure. WFP is quoted to have observed that Kenya is faced with greater food shortages than war-ravaged, drought-prone Sudan (Daily Nation, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2001). It even goes further to compare the situation to that prevailing in Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi, all of whose social, cultural and economic infrastructures have been greatly shaken by years of civil strive and war.

Rainfall has been reported in most of southern Kenya, Kajiado, Narok and the marginal agricultural areas. The rains will help to mature about 60-70 % of the crops that were planted on time in this part of the country. It has been observed that about 30% of the crops were planted late and are unlikely to mature unless the rains are extended.

The situation in the pastoral areas is not encouraging either. Several UNICEF assessment teams have been organized for the last three weeks and confirmed that there is still no vegetation. The expected livestock migration to wet-season grazing areas did not take place - except in southern Garissa, western Turkana and Tana River. In Wajir it has been reported that people are migrating into Somalia with their animals in search of pasture. This requires walking long distances and those who are not able to manage the journey, namely women, children, and the elderly, are being left out. Browse is available in parts of Mandera and Garissa but water pans have not collected sufficient water.

Floods Emergency in Western Kenya

The unexpected extension of the short-rains in Western Kenya has caused extensive floods that have displaced people and disrupted learning in many schools in Nyanza, amid reports of outbreaks of water-borne diseases, reports the Nation Team. Following an urgent appeal by the Ministry of Health, a joint UNICEF/MoH Rapid Assessment team visited Nyanza, Kisumu, and other districts and identified some 1,500 who have been displaced by the floods. UNICEF KCO formed an emergency response team within 24hrs from the initial information and sent urgent relief supplies, including 250 blankets, 651 cartons of high energy biscuits, 500 Kgs of chlorine powder, 8000 packets of ORS and 8000 ITNs Some 2,000 households have been benefited from the above UNICEF intervention. Following the rapid assessment by the team, UNICEF WES unit also responded quickly on hygiene promotion/education in the areas.

Drought Emergency and Education:
-- We Need "Seeds" for Kenyan Future

The drought has had a devastating impact on the Education sector due to the fact that communities impoverished through loss of their livelihoods are unable to meet the cost of their children's education. Schools have deteriorated, sometimes collapsing and communities themselves migrate to peri-urban or urban areas, becoming dependent on long term assistance from donors and aid agencies. In order to assess the impact of the drought on education. UNICEF KCO's Emergency Education experts were deployed to Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Isiolo, Turkana, West Pokot and Kitui. The two remaining focus districts, Marsabit and Moyale are shortly to be visited.

Major findings include: (1) Primary education is particularly affected, especially in the North Eastern Province (with the partial exception of Wajir where enrollment has marginally improved) Most districts have seen 5-10% drop in enrollment in 2000 compared to 1999, followed by similar decreases in 2001, in an area where less than 20% of girls went to school before the drought. Boarding facilities for Upper Primary have been severely affected, due to infrastructural collapse, materials shortages and lack of food. Inspectorate visits to remote schools are rare, so existing data tends to under-state the problem., (2) Secondary education has also been affected due to cost and lack of inclusion in the School Feeding Programme. In a report in the Nation of February 20, the Provincial Director of Education for North Eastern Province noted that only 18% of children had reported for the first term in Wajir and 38% in Garissa. Secondary boarding schools are also heavily in-debted to their suppliers and do not have adequate books and equipment. Gross Enrollment Rates for Secondary School in North Eastern are as low as 5.8% in Mandera compared to the national norm of 30%.

UNICEF has assisted the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to launch a new National Emergency Education Committee (NEEC). Education is also represented at the Kenya Food Security Meetings, as part of the Consolidated Appeal to the United Nations. NEEC functions as a coordination body for consolidated approach for emergency education activities. Some 20NGOs are NEEC and UNICEF and MOE jointly chair the meeting.

High Increase of Cholera and Malaria

Joint assessment team of UNICEF and Ministry of Health revealed impending public health emergencies of cholera and malaria. The areas affected by the floods are emerging from a recent cholera epidemic and as the flood waters subside there is a possibility that this could re-emerge.

An increase of 50-60% increase in malaria cases has been reported over the past two months and there is a limited organizational capacity at the district level to launch a preventive public health campaign. The Ministry of Health has launched a National Malaria Preparedness Campaign. 500 ITNs were distributed to schools and community health facilities.

US$300,000 will be mobilized through UNICEF KCO fund to protect children and the elderly from malaria epidemic in 7 districts (Bomet, Bureti, Kericho, Nyamira, Kisii, Gucha and Trans Mara)

UNICEF WES Projects In Progress

In order to facilitate strategic interventions in WES sector, UNICEF KCO reorganization exercise has been done and this involved redistributing the WES tasks among the officers with a purpose. The idea was to try and strengthen the management in order to improve on response to field requirements and also to enable more officers participate in the field activities, for speedy interventions

GOK and UNICEF have recently worked out a new funding disbursement mechanism, which is set to be tested in some of the districts. This is expected to speed up the project implementation process, which has been hampered by the funding procedure.

Twenty five hand pumps of the India mark II type were recently delivered to West Pokot District together with the necessary accessories which include a large stock of spare parts.

Six Generating sets were recently delivered to Marsabit together with the necessary accessories which include oil filters, diesel filers and air filters

Two generators and four hundred lengths of pvc pipes complete with rubber rings and spare parts were recently delivered to Dadaab in Garissa District.

Thirty lengths of six inch casings and screens plus two hundred and fifty lengths of two inch GI pipes and additional two generating sets together with accessories, were recently delivered to Marsabit District. One hundred and fifty bags of gravel pack, and five generating sets, drilling cables, filters and accessories were recently delivered to Garissa and Wajir Districts.

Ebola Alert and UNICEF Preparedness

Ebola surveillance is still on high alert until end of February in keeping with the incubation period of the last reported case in Uganda in December. Public awareness campaigns in border districts are still ongoing. UNICEF responded to government proposal and provided barrier nursing and Ebola outbreak preparedness supplies worth $50,000 (medical equipment and examination kit) in early February.

2001 Nutrition Surveys

The Kenya Food Security Group has carried out food security assessments in 20 districts with a view to determining food aid needs following the short rains season. The complete set of survey results are expected in March. Although some NGOs intended to undertake surveys on their own methodology, UNICEF, as the coordinating agency, views that nation-wide coordination, in terms of methods/sampling of survey, is very imperative for the purpose of trends/comparative analysis by districts.

Latest News from Districts

Following district information summaries the UNICEF/NGOs/GoK's interventions in February.


A meeting was held with the catholic diocese of Lodwar for possible interventions in Lokitaung in Turkana District for the construction of subsurface Dams. The meeting was also attended by the OCHA Kenya Representative Mr. Fernando Larrauri. It was agreed that the Diocese would submit a proposal for possible funding of one subsurface Dam for a start

UNICEF KCO emergency education expert recently visited the district and identified that dropout rate in Primary Education has increased over that last 12 months and need immediate interventions on education sector.

The nutritional situation in Turkana appears to have stabilised and a field work for a follow-up survey is ongoing. The survey is a joint exercise between UNICEF, World Vision and the MoH. UNICEF has sent up 27MT of BP-5 biscuits to the Diocese of Lodwar for use in their mobile health and nutritional monitoring programme. In addition UNICEF continues to support the therapeutic feeding centre in Kakuma, managed by LWF, and has sent up a TFC kit, oil, sugar, UNIMIX and multivitamins for the programme. The wet feeding programme run by the Islamic center in Lodwar has had substantial results and some 120 children (out of over 600) were discharged in January. Plans are underway to convert the programme into a weekly supplementary dry ration distribution programme.


Drilling of the two UNICEF supported boreholes in Marsabit District by the Kenya Army is ongoing. All supplies for the drilling of the boreholes have been delivered to the sites. The Army drilling rig has recently completed drilling another borehole at Jardesa in Marsabit District supported by Northern Aid.

Medair has conducted a nutrition survey in Loyengalani and North Horr, the two divisions where they have been running wet feeding programmes with support from UNICEF. The global acute malnutrition rate in North Horr has decreased from 31% to 21% However in Loyengalani the rate has slightly increased from 29% to 31%. It is possible that this decline is due to non-distribution of supplementary food in November, December and part of January; however there have been virtually no rains here, livestock losses are high, hygiene is poor and in general the household usage of supplementary food in Loyengalani is unsatisfactory (as indicated by a household level monitoring survey conducted by Medair). The Catholic mission wet feeding centre has also reported increasing numbers of beneficiaries - currently they cater for about 360 children.

UNICEF has sent up food commodities and feeding kits to Macon division for Tearfund to start a wet-feeding programme in Kalacha and Bubisa.


UNICEF has completed the drilling of one borehole at KMQ at Kajiado and a contract is being prepared for the construction of the infrastructure i.e. the pump house, water storage and pipeline accessories. Two additional boreholes are to be drilled in Kajiado and the quotations have already been floated. UNICEF is also supporting a women group by the name NOSIM, for community mobilization and training in several sectors, which include water management, operation and maintenance, hygiene and sanitation.


UNICEF has signed an agreement with Oxfam Quebec on water tankering in Mandera and this will benefit the mainly the Takaba area where water scarcity has been coupled by the influx of refugees and other locally displaced people.

The targeted dry supplementary feeding programme in Takaba, Warankara and Shimbre Fatuma divisions has started. A premix is given out fortnightly to all malnourished children. The relief committees continue to give out a half ration of supplementary food (4.5kg) to children and pregnant and lactating women from beneficiary families. It is expected that the supplementary food distribution through the relief committees will be phased out after tree months depending on the results of he re-survey planned for March. The UNICEF nutritionist was on site to provide technical assistance for starting the programmes. Action Against Hunger has just finished a survey in the southern area of Mandera and results are expected soon.


With the global acute malnutrition rate in Moyale at 8% it was decide that the supplementary feeding programme should scale down at currently a half ration is being provided for 3 months before the programme ends. Insecurity has been high in the area and it is possible that some populations are faring poorly as a result. It is also worth noting that the November survey left out Obbu, due to insecurity, and the nutritional situation there could be much worse.


UNICEF nutritionists undertook a monitoring/technical assistance visit to four dispensaries which are either undertaking wet feeding or are to start. IN most of the centres the communities/mission posts require little else but the food commodities. A consignment of BP-5 biscuits for take-home rations has been sent to the dispensaries.

Mobile teams from UNICEF's partner NGO, International Medical Corps, started EPI activities in December and covered all their identified sites in January. The teams are finding many children who have never been immunised before. Food is not being given out by these teams to avoid duplication of both food distribution and immunisation.


SCF-UK conducted a MUAC screening of 1,850 children, of whom 103 were admitted to SFPs and 11 to TFCs. Two new SFPs were opened in Buna and Korondille (north), with 50 beneficiaries. Another was opened on 29th Jan in Arbajahan, from where 8 children were taken to the Wajir TFC with severe malnutrition. Currently the TFC in Wajir has 82 patients, including the 8 from Arbajahan and 10 from the east. SCF are seeing increasing numbers of severely affected children coming from the East, where there is no agency operating currently. An outbreak of whooping cough was identified in Buna, Batalu division, and a team including MoH personnel went there to treat patients. They treated 50 children; 5 were taken to Buna health centre and 3 were admitted to the TFC where they were isolated.

An agreement has been signed with Catholic diocese of Nakuru for the drilling of five boreholes two in Wajir and three in Garissa. Catholic diocese have recently completed one borehole in Wajir District at Hungai.


UNICEF undertook as mission to Garissa 7-8th February to assess the capacity of the Provincial Hospital and other agencies for operating a TFC. The hospital does not have the capacity to expand their services to run a TFC. Handicap International will work within the hospital premises to start a TFC in collaboration with the MoH. There is currently an investigation on relief food sales in Garissa market. WFP, Office of the President and the lead NGO are following up the matter at the local level.

An agreement has recently been singed with Northern Aid a local NGO for the drilling of three boreholes, two in Garissa and one in Isiolo. Northern Aid will also be expected to support community training and re-organization activities.


World Vision reported that there has been poor rain in the north and all the lowland areas. They will complete their beneficiary registration by the end of this week. Currently they are giving supplementary food to 12,000 children but their budget allows for up to 23,000. They expect to have enough funding to take this programme up to June. Their UNIMIX is locally purchased. They will probably change to a targeted approach for supplementary feeding because the situation is improving slightly. Currently the four TFCs are still open, with 24 children in Kwi Kwi, 15 in Kolowa, 36 in Chemelimgot and 40 in Kimalel. They foresee the situation going back to normal by June.

West Pokot

25 hand pumps of the India mark II type were recently delivered to West Pokot District together with the necessary accessories which include a large stock of spare parts.

UNICEF emergency education expert recently visitied W. Pokot in order to assess the impact of the recent drought on education in the two district and possible responses and preparedness for future droughts and disasters. Also follow up on previous visit and supply and planning issues. The team identified that completion rates in primary schools in the district is very low at 20% cf. national norm of 47%. This low rate attributed to the drought emergency.

The nutrition survey data is currently being analyzed.

UNICEF Partnership with Donors etc

UNICEF Kenya welcomed a new Norwegian Refugee Council (NCR) secondee who is to be assigned to North Western Kenya and strengthen UNICEF field presence for emergency intervention. Mr. Jan Koolas, the experienced emergency officer in various UN agencies/NGOs, will be responsible for assessing and monitoring the progress of UNICEF emergency interventions in Wajir/Mandera.

Japanese Government has funded US$500,000 for UNICEF KCO's girls education activities. The fund will be utilized for the increase of girls child's enrollment in primary schools.

UK government has funded US$800,000 for UNICEF KCO's supplementary food programme. The fund allows UNICEF to provide some 2,000 MT of UNMIX for up to 250,000 children in North Eastern Kenya.

UNICEF is currently under negotiation with the Australian Government for possible financial partnership on UNICEF Water Project.

The DFID supported Water survey is still ongoing and will cover all the Districts where the emergency intervention are ongoing.


UNICEF Eastern and Sub-Sahara Africa (ESARO) Emergency Unit organized an emergency preparedness and response training in Nairobi between 19 to 23 February. The training aimed to streamline UNICEF responses to humanitarian crisis in line with Convention of the Rights of Child (CRC). UNICEF KCO sent 5 participants to the training.

UNICEF KCO aims to organize emergency contingency planning training between 26 to 29 February 2001. The training focuses on UNICEF rapid response to the emergency and how to promote more effective and rapid interventions to the drought and other emergencies in Kenya. Mr. Everett Ressler, UNICEF Geneva Contingency Planning Expert, will facilitate the training with ESARO/RESU.