UNICEF Kenya Humanitarian Situation Report, 5 July 2017

from UN Children's Fund
Published on 05 Jul 2017


  • The drought impact is particularly severe in Isiolo and parts of Wajir (West and South), Turkana and Tana River counties.

  • Nutrition surveys undertaken in June 2017 in Turkana indicate a deepening nutritional crisis compared to 5 months ago, with 3 of the 4 sub counties reporting acute malnutrition of greater than 30% and severe acute malnutrition ranging from 6-12%.

  • Insecurity in parts of the country as well as the National health workers strike continues to seriously hinder health and nutrition interventions, especially in the most deprived areas of the country.

  • With the increased numbers of vulnerable drought-affected children,
    UNICEF and partners have intensified child protection interventions reaching 3,080 children with case management services over the past two weeks.

  • Four water points were repaired in Kibish/Turkana County over the past two weeks reaching 5,640 people including 300 school children (160 boys and 140 girls).

  • UNICEF Kenya’s humanitarian requirements for 2017 remain underfunded with a funding gap of 44 per cent. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the drought emergency response, and mitigate risks of a worsening drought situation for children.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

The general drought situation across the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) of Kenya still remains dire1, while vegetation conditions and water availability have improved in a few regions that received some rainfall at end of May and in June. Drought impacts are particularly severe in Isiolo and parts of Wajir (West and South), Turkana and Tana River counties.

The national food security situation is also expected to deteriorate further due to low annual maize yields following a combination of fall army worm invasion and drought conditions. Nutrition surveys supported by UNICEF and conducted in June in Turkana indicate a deepening crisis compared to 5 months ago, with 3 of the 4 sub-counties reporting acute malnutrition of greater than 30%. Of great concern are elevated rates of severe acute malnutrition, which range from 6 – 12%. However, child mortality rates are low, illustrating the impact of ongoing nutrition response to curb rates of mortality. The prevalence of acute malnutrition in Turkana compared to the same time period in 2011 is illustrated in the below graphic. The overall prevalence of acute malnutrition for the county of Turkana has increase significantly from 23.8% in June 2016 to 31% in June 2017. In terms of the 4 sub counties, Turkana South has the highest rate of acute malnutrition at 37%, Turkana North has a rate of 34.1%, Turkana Central’s rate is 31.4% and Turkana West has an acute malnutrition rate of 23.4%. Equally worrying are the very high levels of severe acute malnutrition, ranging from 6% prevalence in Turkana West to 12% in Turkana South.

The nutrition situation in drought-affected counties continues to deteriorate. In the 9 arid counties (Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Baringo Samburu, Garissa and West Pokot), a deterioration in the nutrition situation is expected in line with the deteriorating food security indicators. The key driver of the deterioration is a severe food access gap at the household level due to the ongoing drought and its consequences. Nutrition surveys are also ongoing in eight other vulnerable arid counties supported by UNICEF. All the surveys and final analysis on numbers of population in need in terms of nutrition and food assistance will be released by the government on 28 July – therefore all response plans will be updated at that stage.

Conflict and insecurity in parts of the country continues to hinder provision of basic services, especially health and nutrition interventions. For example, in Fafi Sub-county of Garissa County, four health facilities along the Kenya-Somalia border remain closed due to insecurity. In Baringo’s East Pokot sub-county, 14 health facilities are closed due to continued intercommunal conflict. The situation in East Pokot has worsened since conflict began in February 2017 and has resulted in many implementing partners shutting down humanitarian operations to protect the safety of their staff. At the end of June 2017, UNICEF and partners suspended planned SMART nutrition surveys in East Pokot due to insecurity and a lack of access to the affected populations. In Isiolo and Wajir counties, 2 and 6 primary schools respectively are closed due to conflict over water and grazing fields in drought affected areas. Insecurity in various parts of the country has also affected the provision of health services.

On ongoing countrywide health workers strike is of great concern and is already negatively affecting health and nutrition service provision in the counties. In the North and North eastern regions, the strike has paralyzed fixed, outreach and mobile public health care services in all health care facilities and has impacted heavily on healthcare services including routine vaccination and skilled deliveries, especially for the most vulnerable communities.

Multiple disease outbreaks continue in the country. Cholera outbreak still persists with five counties (Garissa, Nairobi, Muranga, Turkana and Wajir) currently reporting active outbreaks with 1,067 cases and 12 deaths (CFR 1 per cent) reported since January 2017. A dengue fever outbreak is also active in Mombasa and Wajir Counties with 1,199 cases and 1 death reported between January and end of June. A measles outbreak has been reported in Garissa County’s Dadaab Refugee Complex and Mandera County with 44 reported cases and no deaths to date. A surge in Kala-azar (visceral leishmaniosis) cases amounting to 277 cases and 7 deaths (CFR 2.5) also remains a major concern.
With General Elections in Kenya only a month away, concerns have been raised as the EU Observation Mission to the Kenyan elections warned of possible violence during the 8 August elections.