Horn of Africa: Humanitarian Impacts of Drought – Issue 12 (8 December 2017)
Drought continues to cause displacement of populations and livestock, along with other protection concerns. In Somalia, drought-related internal displacement increased to 874,000 in November, up from 837,000 in September. Overall, more than 1.1 million people have been displaced as a result of drought, floods, conflict and insecurity in 2017, nearly two-thirds of these are under age 18. A spike in conflict driven displacements in multiple regions was observed during November. Approximately 6,000 IDP returns were recorded in November. In Kenya, lack of pasture, crop failure and loss of livestock have caused pastoral populations to migrate long distances, while families have adopted negative coping mechanisms — including increased child labour and early marriage — in response to the impacts of the drought. Sexual and domestic violence are reported to have increased during the drought, with women walking long distances to collect water or firewood at heightened risk of sexual violence.
Across the Horn of Africa, nearly 5.2 million children and women are estimated to be acutely malnourished. In Ethiopia, 3.6 million children and pregnant and lactating women (PLW) are projected to be acutely malnourished in 2017. From January to September 2017, 255,623 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition (SAM), while 843,837 children under age 5 and 820,712 pregnant and lactating women (1,664,549 total) were treated for moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). In Somalia,
1.2 million children and PLW are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition from September 2017 to September 2018 and malnutrition rates have reached emergency levels in some locations, especially among internally displaced people. In Kenya, 370,000 children require treatment for acute malnutrition in the drought-affected Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) areas. On 3 November, a nurses’ strike ended after nearly five months of service delivery interruption. The strike significantly affected nutrition outreach activities, with up to 40 to 50 per cent of planned outreaches not completed in West Pokot, Baringo, Garissa and Isiolo counties. As a result, there was a drop in admissions to acute malnutrition treatment programs across affected counties.
More than 15.2 million people are severely food insecure in the Horn of Africa, with the number in Somalia reaching nearly double the 5-year average. In Ethiopia, 8.5 million people are food insecure. A Government-led multi-agency needs assessment is ongoing from 18 November to 13 December to assess the performance of the kiremt (summer) rains in the highlands of northern, central, western and south-eastern Ethiopia and the short seasonal deyr/hagaya (autumn) rains in the lowland areas of south and south-eastern Ethiopia. Chronic shortages of water and fodder have already been observed in most parts of the current drought-belt. In Somalia, more than 3.3 million people are severely food insecure, including 2.4 million people who are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 866,000 in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Well below-average agricultural production has been reported and pastoralists have suffered significant livestock losses. The deyr rainy season (October to December) started late and is generally performing below average, marking a fourth failed rainy season. Rainfall in December is not expected to significantly improve crop prospects and the risk of famine (IPC Phase 5) remains. In Kenya, drought conditions have persisted in Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kilifi, Marsabit, Narok and Samburu counties and 3.4 million people are estimated to be facing severe food insecurity (IPC 3 or above) in December.
Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) and cholera cases have decreased in Ethiopia and Somalia, while new counties have been affected in Kenya. In Ethiopia, since January 2017, 48,592 AWD cases were reported across the country, the vast majority from Somali region. The measles outbreak in Ethiopia is also ongoing, with 3,490 cases reported as at 3 November. Affected regions are: Oromia (46 per cent of reported cases); Amhara (21 per cent); Addis Ababa (16 per cent); and Somali (20 per cent).
In Somalia, AWD/cholera cases are decreasing. Since the start of the year, some 78,426 cases (567 in October), including 1,159 deaths (CFR 1.48 per cent), were reported, with no deaths reported in October and November. Children under age 5 constitute more than 58 per cent of the reported cases. The number of measles cases has also declined in recent months but remains at epidemic levels. More than 20,000 cases were recorded between January and 19 November 2017. This is four times higher than in 2015 and 2016 respectively. A nationwide measles vaccination campaign is being planned, targeting 4.2 million children. In Kenya, the cholera outbreak is active in seven counties (Nairobi, Garissa, Mombasa, Turkana, Wajir, Embu and Kirinyaga), with 3,967 cases, including 76 deaths (CFR 1.9 per cent), reported from 1 January to 29 November.