The current drought in Kenya was declared a national disaster by the Government on 10 February 2017. Some 2.6 million people in the arid and semi-arid lands are now experiencing acute food insecurity, up from 1.3 million in August 2016, and the nutrition situation is continuing to deteriorate.
The drought has pushed the number of young children1 suffering from moderate acute malnutrition to 268,000 in 23 arid and semi-arid counties. In addition, 37,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are currently moderately acutely malnourished and are registered in health facilities. The nutrition sector requires US$12.8 million for the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition, for which the Government has allocated US$7.4 million. WFP gratefully acknowledges the US$4 million contribution from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund for this treatment, which, along with US$200,000 in multilateral funding, will cover the requirements from April to July.
However, WFP still requires US$1.2 million in further funding to cover treatment of acute malnutrition from August to October. Failure to ensure continuity of treatment of moderate acute malnutrition will lead to an increased risk of morbidity and mortality of children and mothers and an increased prevalence of severe acute malnutrition.
To prevent further increases in acute malnutrition in women and young children, WFP plans to implement a blanket supplementary feeding programme for all children aged 6 to 59 months and all pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in nine specific areas where acute malnutrition is over the emergency threshold of 15 percent. These are in the five arid counties of Baringo, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit and Turkana. The strategy for the blanket supplementary programme is based on the national guidelines for the integrated management of acute malnutrition and is reviewed and approved by the nutrition sector.
Specialized ready-to-use food is being transported to Turkana North and Kibish sub-counties (in Turkana County) and North Horr and Laisamis sub-counties (in Marsabit County) thanks to US$500,000 received from Japan and based on discussion with other donors. Global acute malnutrition in these areas is above 30 percent – double the threshold that WHO considers an emergency. Confirmation of more resources is urgently required if this assistance is to continue beyond May in these sub-counties. Furthermore, WFP requires US$32.6 million to expand this blanket supplementary feeding to the other identified priority areas with critical global acute malnutrition levels.