Kenya + 3 more

UNICEF Kenya Humanitarian Situation Report January to December 2019



  • By end of 2019, there were 2.56 million food insecure people in Kenya, up from 1.1 million people in February 2019 while 665,440 children under five years were acutely malnourished, up from 582,934 children in February 2019.

  • In 2019, a total of 5,150 cholera cases with 39 deaths have been reported across 13 out of a total of 47 counties in Kenya.

  • A total of 87,622 severely malnourished children were admitted for treatment from January to December 2019 with UNICEF support.

  • A total of 456,400 children (229,804 girls and 226,596 boys) have been reached with life-saving health interventions with UNICEF support in 2019.

  • With UNICEF support, 286,846 people (140,555 male and 146,291 female) affected by cholera, floods and drought have benefitted from access to safe water in 2019.

  • In 2019, UNICEF required US$ 28.29 million for its Humanitarian Action for Children Appeal and has a funding gap of 47 per cent.

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

As informed by the rain assessments, the food security and nutrition situation significantly deteriorated in Kenya with the estimated food-insecure population in crisis (IPC phase three) increasing from 700,000 people in August 2018 to 1.1 million in February 2019, and up to 1.6 million in May 2019 due to the failure of the two consecutive rainy seasons between October 2018 and May 2019. Recovery from the severe drought was significantly hampered, contributing to a rapidly worsening food security situation and high levels of severe acute malnutrition (SAM). By August 2019, up to 2.56 million were food insecure people, an increase of 60 per cent from May 2019. The total number of children under five with acute malnutrition has increased by 15 per cent with 665,440 children under five years being acutely malnourished by August 2019, up from 582,934 children in February 2019. This includes 145,112 children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) by August 2019, up from 125,688 severely acutely malnourished children by February 2019. The graph below shows the trends in acute malnutrition caseloads from 2016 to 2019. The caseload calculation methodology was updated during the August 2018 LRA as informed by global guidance, lessons from the 2017/2018 response, and coverage assessments conducted in 2017. The updating of the methodology contributed to the increase in estimated number of children requiring treatment for acute malnutrition compared to the previous year.

Kenya experienced above-average rains during the October-November-December 2019 rains season resulting in massive flooding and landslides since mid-October, negatively impacting on the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable populations.
According to 24 November 2019 updates, major roads were cut off in 11 counties, affecting accessibility to affected populations for rapid assessments and delivery of humanitarian assistance especially in parts of West Pokot, Marsabit, Mandera, Turkana, Garissa, Lamu, Mombasa, Tana River, Taita Taveta, Kwale and Wajir Counties. Key identified response gaps included food, NFIs, WASH, health and shelter, with county governments seeking air asset support to provide lifesaving assistance to the displaced populations. The National Disaster Operations Center (NDOC) has reported that at least 78,624 households were affected, 24,190 households were displaced, and 246 people died due to the floods and landslides by end of 2019, of which 72 deaths were from massive landslides in West Pokot. According to UNICEF assessments, health and hygiene remains a concern due to the submerging of toilets and contamination of the water supply, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases, especially cholera. The massive flooding also affected UNICEF-supported integrated health, WASH and nutrition outreach services, with a total of 53 health facilities and 140 integrated outreach sites in Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Tana River and Mandera counties remaining inaccessible in areas that were cut off due to floods, affecting access to services for over 14,000 mothers and children. According to Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), the planning scenario from October 2019 to March 2020 may exceed 220,000 people requiring immediate assistance and support with early recovery.

Cholera outbreaks persisted throughout 2019, with over 5,150 cases reported by 30th December 2019, up from 2,466 cases in May 2019. UNICEF analysis below shows a correlation between open defecation and recurrent cholera outbreaks, and the escalation of outbreaks during flooding seasons.

Predominantly marked by regional political and humanitarian situations, Kenya remains among the top refugee-hosting countries in Africa with 489,747 refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya by December 2019 (56 per cent children; 54.5 per cent from Somalia and 24.4 per cent from South Sudan), up from 474,044 in April 2019.