The poor performance of the current short rains season in Kenya shows a similar pattern to that which preceded the 2010/2011 Horn of Africa drought crisis.
The situation may be even more serious as the current drought follows a poor 2016 long rains season, whereas the 2010 long rains were favourable.
Food security and nutrition in the arid and semi-arid areas will continue to deteriorate, with widespread drought stress expected in the first quarter of 2017.
In Numbers 1.25 million people currently acutely food insecure but will increase sharply from February
People Assisted by WFP in 2016 - 1.6 million (excluding refugees)
WFP 6-month net funding requirements (January-June 2017)
Asset creation for resilience: USD 22 million Treatment of acute malnutrition: USD 4.2 million School meals: USD 4.5 million
Following two consecutive poor rainy seasons, the number of people that are acutely food insecure in Kenya is expected to rise to well over 2 million for February-August 2017 - up from 1.25 million for September 2016-January 2017. The National Disaster Management Authority has warned that Kenya could face a drought similar or worse in intensity than that experienced in 2011 before the 2017 long rains start (March-May).
12 counties (up from 8 in December 2016) are now in the ‘alarm’ drought phase (one step from the ‘emergency’ phase). These are: Garissa, Isiolo, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu,
Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, West Pokot and Wajir. The remaining 11 counties of the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) are in the “alert” drought phase. Drought conditions in all ASAL counties are currently deteriorating.
The national and county governments are responding with relief distributions of food, water, fodder. The national government allocated USD 54 million (KES 5.4 billion) for drought responses between November and January. This included 6,500 mt of relief food per month distributed by the State Department of Special Programmes. Both food and cash transfers for relief are planned for February-July.
The Government’s Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) continues to provide monthly cash transfers to around 100,000 households (around 500,000 people) in Mandera,
Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir counties. The HSNP scaled-up transfers to an additional 79,000 households in these counties in January.
The prevalence of acute malnutrition in northern Kenya is above 20 percent, or ‘very critical’, in four counties (Baringo, Mandera, Marsabit and Turkana) and 15 percent, or ‘critical’, in a fifth (West Pokot). Another four counties (Garissa, Samburu, Tana River and Wajir) have ‘serious’ acute malnutrition (10 percent-14 percent).
Nutrition surveys are currently being conducted in Baringo, Isiolo, Lamu, Marsabit, Mandera, Tana River and Turkana, with results expected in February 2017.
Counties are scaling up their nutrition response, including mass screening and outreach, which will improve early identification and access to essential services for malnourished people requiring support.