• In 2018, approximately 700,000 people were food insecure by August 2018, down from 3.4 million in August 2017.
• The above-average ‘long’ rains resulted in mass displacement with 311,000 people displaced by mid-May 2018.
• In 2018, a total of 306,514 children were reached with life-saving health interventions through integrated health outreach. While over 2.9 million children were reached as part of the polio vaccination campaign for the Horn of Africa.
• With UNICEF support, 245,219 acutely malnourished children were admitted for treatment in therapeutic and supplementary feeding programmes in 2018.
• Over 189,883 people in drought, cholera and flood-affected counties benefitted from permanent access to safe water through repair of water points.
• In 2018, UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal of US$ 34.2 million had a funding gap of 58 per cent.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Approximately 2.55 million people were food insecure in March 2018, down from 3.4 million in August 2017, as Kenya continued to face the effects of the severe drought from the previous year and high staple food prices. However, by August 2018 the population requiring food assistance had reduced significantly to 700,0009 , due to substantial crop production, low market prices and available supplies in the local markets following record-high ‘long’ rains from March – May. According to the National Drought Management Authority, all 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties were categorized in the normal drought phase by August 2018 (stressed, IPC phase 2), and majority of the open water sources were filled with water, stabilizing average return distances to water points. According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), the October to December short rainy season was significantly below average and crop production is expected to be 70 percent of average. As a result, deterioration in food security will most likely be gradual, and additional ASAL counties are anticipated to move to Stressed level (IPC phase 2) from February 2019.
At the beginning of 2018, acute malnutrition remained at critical levels (phase 4, GAM WHZ 15 – 29.9 per cent) in Turkana Central, North, West and South, Tana River, Wajir North, North Horr and Laisamis sub-counties, while Isiolo and Kajiado reported a serious nutrition situation (phase 3, GAM WHZ 10.0 -14.9 percent). The nutrition situation improved due to the improvement in food security with the children in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) reducing to 85,105 by August 2018, down from 104,614 children in January 2018. However, critical GAM levels (15 – 29.9 per cent) were sustained in Mandera, Turkana, Samburu, and parts of Baringo (East Pokot), and Marsabit (North Horr) counties, primarily driven by poor childcare feeding practices and lack of suitable access to health facilities. Serious GAM levels (10 – 14.9 per cent) are anticipated in Wajir, Garissa, Isiolo, Laikipia, Tana River, and Marsabit (Laisamis) counties in January 2019.
The above-average long rains also resulted in massive flooding in 40 out of 47 counties, with 800,000 people affected, including 311,000 displaced (approximately 47 per cent children), 186 killed and nearly 100 injured by mid-May 2018. Of the displaced children, about 18,725 (42 per cent girls) required child protection interventions and about 46,000 children could not access schooling by mid-May as 329 schools were hosting people displaced by the floods. Timely emergency assistance to affected populations in the most hard-to-reach areas was compromised as major roads and school infrastructure was damaged. With the cessation of the long rains in May, floodwaters receded in most of the flood-affected areas which improved road access and displaced populations returned to their homes by end of June. However, in Tana River county, farms and villages mainly in Tana Delta area were still flooded, and most of the displaced were still living in camps, with 10 internally displaced population (IDP) camps still hosting 400 households.
The flooding also compounded ongoing disease outbreaks, with 5,470 cholera cases (78 deaths and case fatality rate of 1.4 per cent) reported across 19 counties; 111 Rift Valley Fever human cases (14 deaths) reported across Wajir (75), Marsabit (35) and Siaya (1) counties and 1,465 chikungunya cases reported. The first cholera outbreak began on 26 December 2014 and ended on 19 August 2018.The next cholera outbreak started on 8 September 2018 and ended 23 October 2018 with only 40 cases in three counties. Since the last case, three incubation periods have passed and by the 20 November the Government declared the outbreak under control10 . Additionally, 24 measles cases were reported in Wajir county in February and a circulating vaccine derived type 2 polio virus was found in a sewage sample in Nairobi county in May 2018. Since the beginning of the year, six counties (Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Nairobi, Kitui and Murang’a) reported measles outbreaks with a total of 744 cases with 66 confirmed and one death reported by end of the year. There was significant reduction in the number of measles cases reported in the last quarter of the year in Mandera and Nairobi following the vaccination campaign, with no new cases reported between August and December 2018. However, there was a spike in the cases reported in Wajir County towards end of the year, with 15 cases being reported between 7 and 21 December 2018.
In the first half of the year, drought-related inter-ethnic conflicts and insecurity in Garissa, Mandera, Turkana, Samburu, Baringo, West Pokot, Wajir, Tana River intermittently affected access to learning and constrained emergency education assessments and interventions. In Baringo County, 133 schools were affected, and 20 schools were closed in February, affecting access for approximately 30,000 learners. On 12 February, a terrorist-related attack by armed militants led to the death of two non-local teachers in Qarsa Primary School, Wajir County, and resulted in 900 non-local teachers leaving Wajir county, negatively impacting learning for approximately 45,000 children. Inter-ethnic conflicts in Narok South, Baringo and Marsabit counties led to the temporary closure of over 30 schools, interrupting learning for more than 8,000 children (40 per cent girls) in September and October 2018.
A sudden influx of asylum seekers from Ethiopia to Moyale in Marsabit county due to intercommunal conflict was reported in March 2018, with a total of 10,557 people (over 80 per cent women and children) registered at the peak of the crisis. The Dambala Fachana camp in Moyale that was hosting the asylum seekers was closed on 29 September, with 302 individuals transferred to Kakuma, while 700 individuals opted to return to Ethiopia. In December, conflict was reported in the border area, and Kenya Red Cross estimates that a total of 8,620 household crossed the border to Mandera county and are integrated in the host community of Banisa and Takaba. According to the UNHCR November 2018 update, Kenya hosts 470,088 refugees and asylum seekers (56 per cent children). Almost 55 per cent of refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya originate from Somalia. Other major nationalities are South Sudanese (24.4 per cent), Congolese (8.7 per cent) and Ethiopians (5.9 per cent). Since the beginning of the year, 5,116 refugee children (3,170 boys and 1,946 girls) have arrived in Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps.