WFP Emergency Report No. 50 of 1997: Kenya

Situation Report
Originally published
Issued weekly by the United Nations World Food Programme
Report No. 50 of 1997 Date: 12 December 1997

This report includes: A) El Nino: Central America B) East and Central Africa: Kenya, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo C) Afghanistan D) Iraq.

From J.-M. Boucher, Chief, Programming Service. Available on the Internet at WFP Home Page or by e-mail from (fax 39 6 6513 2837). For information regarding resources, donors are requested to contact or at WFP Rome, telephone 39 6 6513 2504 or 6513 2004.

(Details below in Part II)


1. Kenya

a) Serious flood situation continues in Wajir, Garissa and Tana River; in Wajir district, cut off since mid-October, Oxfam distributes 200 metric tons of WFP food; 700 metric tons remains in stock. Some commercial supplies flow in by merchants.

b) Situation still deteriorating in some areas of worst affected areas of North Eastern Province. Flood peaks in Liboi; water still moving into Somalia.

c) Flooding in the lower Tana River (southern Tana River district and Lamu) escalating. Mobilization of small boats is priority for relief agencies.

d) The 124,000 mainly Somali refugees in the Dadaab camps (110 km north-east of Garissa) are still totally isolated. Air bridge is high priority.



The following are field observations by the WFP Regional Manager, based on a visit to some of the flood-affected areas of eastern Kenya and southern Somalia on 11 and 12 December:

1.1 Kenya

a) The Kenyan Government authorities in Wajir, Garissa and Tana River are heavily engaged in the relief response to the serious flood situation.

b) Wajir district has been cut off from the rest of Kenya from mid-October. On 4 December there were disturbances in the town over shortages of commodities. Two days later over 100 metric tons of supplies are reported to have been flown in by commercial traders, alleviating the situation at least for wage and salary earners.

c) Oxfam has distributed about 200 metric tons of WFP food in the area in the past week. About 700 metric tons remains in stock. This stock is expected to be distributed in the next 20 days, and will need to be replenished by air.

d) It will be at least two months before Wajir has road access to southern Kenya. However, given drier conditions, road access to the north (Moyale and Mandera) could open up in 10 days. Wajir was reported to have had 50 successive wet days up to 6/7 December. Between then and 11 December there had been five days without rain.

e) The worst affected areas of North Eastern Province are outlying areas of southern, western and eastern Wajir district, Wajir town (sanitation and health risks), Mandera district (at the "end of the line", therefore many supplies running low), and the northern most and southern most parts of Garissa district. The situation is still deteriorating in some areas. The flood peak in Liboi (180 km north-east of Garissa) appears to have been recorded on 12 December. It is clear water flooding suggesting a slow movement of huge amounts of water which has fallen as torrential rain further up country over the past eight weeks. This water is still moving into Somalia, adding to the problems in the Lower Juba.

f) The flooding in the lower Tana River (southern Tana River district and Lamu) is now of serious proportions. It has escalated appreciably since the last UN over-flight 17 days ago. A priority for relief agencies here is to mobilize small boats. The Malindi-Garissa trunk road has been severely damaged and is unlikely to be passable for 6-8 weeks at least.

g) The 124,000 mainly Somali refugees in the Dadaab camps (110 km north-east of Garissa) are still totally isolated. Initiation of an air bridge with at least one dedicated aircraft is now of very high priority. WFP is responsible for the movement by air of some 890 MT of food before the end of December and a further 990 MT before 15 January. In addition WFP will assist UNHCR and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to move by air the non food items for which they are responsible.