By February 2019, there were 1.1 million food insecure people in Kenya, up from 700,000 people in August 2018.
The Government of Kenya is leading the response to the extended dry spell and has provided over Kshs. 1.3 billion (US$12.8 million) for food, nutrition and water response. UNICEF requires $US5.7 million for early action to complement the Government interventions.
Since the beginning of the year, 1198 cholera cases were reported across Narok, Kajiado, Nairobi, Garissa and Machakos counties, with four deaths reported.
With UNICEF support, an estimated 31,000 people in cholera affected areas in Narok and Kajiado counties benefitted from access to safe water through promotion of household water treatment and storage.
A total of 10,482 severely malnourished children and 16,489 moderately malnourished children were admitted for treatment from January to February.
In 2019, UNICEF requires US$ 5.5 million for its Humanitarian Action for Children Appeal for refugee and disease outbreaks response and has a funding gap of 60 per cent.
1,100,000 People are food insecure (2018 Short Rains Assessment, March 2019)
564,000 Children are food insecure (2018 Long Rains Assessment, August 2018)
113,941 Children under 5 in need of severe acute malnutrition treatment (Kenya Food and Nutrition Security Seasonal Assessments, March 2019)
UNICEF HAC Appeal 2019 US$ 5,558,000
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
The deficient performance of the October to December 2018 ‘short rains’ season and the subsequent delayed onset of the March to May ‘long rains’ season has caused a long dry period in Kenya between January and March 2019 especially in the arid and semi-arid (ASAL) counties. The Kenya Meteorological Department has revised the forecast for the 2019 ‘long rains’ season, indicating a higher likelihood of late onset of the rains and poor distribution. The drought status in ASAL counties deteriorated in January 2019, with 16 out of the 23 ASAL counties classified in the ‘alert’ drought phase, seven counties ‘stable’, and 16 counties reporting a worsening trend by February 2019.
The prevailing dry spell has caused food and water insecurity in the ASAL counties. Most open water sources are reported to have dried up and strategic boreholes have broken down due to over-use, thus significantly increasing average distances to water points. A UNICEF assessment in February 2019 identified that 116 schools are lacking water (29 in Wajir, 79 in Garissa and eight in Isiolo counties) with a total of 17,968 children affected. The 2018 Short Rains Assessment (SRA 2018) released on 8 March 2019 concludes that there are 1.1 million people food-insecure in Kenya, up from 700,000 people in August 2018. Of these, an estimated 800,000 people are in the crisis phase (IPC Phase 3), which is approximately six percent of the ASAL population. Additionally, about 5.4 million people (39 percent of the ASAL population) are in the stressed phase (IPC 2). The FEWSNET food security outlook for Kenya indicates that due to the delayed and below-average long rains, crop yields are likely to be at least 25 percent below average. Therefore, with the expected second consecutive poor rainy season, food and water scarcity as well severe malnutrition is likely to increase in the ASAL counties and there is likelihood of a prolonged drought affecting the country in the coming months. However, temporary relief is expected after the rains, and should they perform better than forecasted, the negative effects of the dry spell are likely to be reversed.
According to the integrated Phase Classification (IPC) conducted in February 2019, the nutrition situation is stable across the arid and semi-arid areas though still above emergency thresholds – Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) ≥15 percent in selected areas. Turkana, Samburu and Mandera counties as well as East Pokot and North Horr sub-counties have remained at critical level (Phase 4; GAM WHZ 15.0 – 29.9 percent) while Wajir, Tana River, West Pokot, Garissa and Laisamis counties are at serious level (Phase 3; GAM WHZ 10.0 -14.9 percent). Isiolo, Saku and Moyale are classified as alert (Phase 2; GAM WHZ ≥ 5 to 9.9 percent) while Laikipia, Kitui, Kajiado, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu are at acceptable level (Phase 1; GAM WHZ <5 percent). In addition, three sub counties in Wajir were at alert phase while the other three were in normal phase. The nutrition situation is likely to remain stable across the areas during the projection period except for Wajir and Tana River which are likely to deteriorate to critical and Isiolo to serious phase respectively, with potential for deterioration due to the expected deficient performance of the 2019 long rains. In addition, poor child care practices, unhygienic environment, high child morbidities and inadequate access to health care services continues to negatively impact on the health and nutrition situation. The capacity of the health system has been improving over the past several years in relation to continued recruitment of health workers, increasing number of health facilities and improved delivery of commodities directly to health facilities. Facilities are in the process of implementing the Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) surge approach, which is a facility level model to analyze capacity and define threshold to enable predictable expansion of capacity in times of emergency. In January 2019, 10 per cent (19) of health facilities implementing IMAM surge reported an increase in admissions of acute malnutrition and thereby surpassing set thresholds. Most of the facilities (17) were in Marsabit and Turkana counties.
In ASAL counties and urban informal settlements, the estimated total number of children (6 to 59 months) requiring treatment for acute malnutrition in 2019 is 541,309 (113,941 for Severe Acute Malnutrition and 427,368 for Moderate Acute Malnutrition).
According to UNHCR, Kenya hosts 470,503 refugees and asylum seekers (58 per cent children) as of February 2019. Of these, 210,038 are in Dadaab refugee camps and 185,399 are in Kakuma refugee camp. Since the beginning of 2019, 1,314 refugee children (759 boys and 555 girls) have arrived in Kakuma refugee camp from South Sudan; with 775 children arriving in in February alone, which is one of the highest intakes in the last 14 months. Out of these, 195 (110 boys and 85 girls) children are separated and 34 (25 boys, 9 girls) are unaccompanied. In Dadaab, 106,550 children of school-going age (3-17 years) are currently in Dadaab, of which only 65,373 are enrolled in school (62 per cent of GER). Since December 2014, 79,113 Somali refugees have returned home (6,324 in 2018; 33,398 in 2017 and 33,219 in 2016), resulting in IFO2 and Kambioos camps being closed. Voluntary repatriation will continue in 2019 for Somalis and other nationalities, if the situation permits in the countries of origin, however, the number recorded is very low. The Kenya refugee operation continues to be marked by the political developments and humanitarian situation in Somalia and South Sudan and Kenya remains among the top refugee hosting countries in Africa.
Disease outbreaks have continued to plague the country since January 2019, with alerts for new outbreaks being issued by the concerned authorities. As per the Ministry of Health disease outbreak report of 1 April 2019, a total of 1198 Cholera cases have been reported across Narok, Kajiado, Nairobi, Garissa and Machakos counties, with four deaths (case fatality rate of 0.3 per cent). A total of 418 measles cases with three deaths have been reported across Wajir, Tana River, Kilifi and Kwale counties. Dengue Fever outbreak has been reported in Mombasa County, with 660 cases reported, of which 286 are confirmed. Nyandarua County has reported 147 human cases of Rift Valley Fever with 15 confirmed. Wajir and Marsabit counties have confirmed a Kala-azar outbreak, with a total of 137 cases reported (102 in Marsabit). The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is ongoing, and while all alerts and suspected cases in the neighboring countries including Kenya have been negative, there is a considerable risk of importation of cases to Kenya, which is a regional travel hub.