• Crisis Severity ?
    3.3
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    3.6
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    3.7
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    2.6
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    3.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 54,297,000 Total population [?]
  • 15,753,000 People affected [?]
  • 3,644,000 People in Need [?]

Overview

04/10/2021

Kenya is currently facing two humanitarian crises – the drought and the refugee crisis. Arid and semiarid counties, which make up nearly 80% of Kenya’s landmass, are experiencing drought conditions. Kenya has been hosting refugees displaced from neighbouring countries since 1991. At least 525,000 refugees are currently present in Kenya, mostly displaced from Somalia and South Sudan. The majority of them has taken shelter in Dadaab and Kakuma camps, located in Garissa and Turkana counties respectively, which are arid areas affected by the drought. ?

Communities living in arid and semiarid regions (30% of Kenya's population) are often marginalised, with inadequate social services, poor physical infrastructure, and highly dispersed human settlements. They also face higher levels of poverty compared to the rest of the country. Their source of livelihood – pastoralism and small-scale agriculture – has been affected by the drought, particularly after the below-average rainy season in March–May 2021.?

INFORM measures Kenya’s risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be high, at 5.7/10. The risk of drought is particularly high, at 6.9/10. Vulnerability is also of particular concern at 6/10. ?

Latest Developments

07/12/2021

No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

Humanitarian Access

07/12/2021

High constraints

The access situation in Kenya has deteriorated in the last six months, with the emergence of a drought crisis. All refugees in the country need to be officially registered and obtain identification documents before being able to receive humanitarian assistance. Refugees from certain ethnic groups still face significant problems in gaining identification documents and are often required to provide additional evidence of their refugee status.

In some drought-affected areas, there is an obstruction to the access of basic services for the population as some areas are besieged by resource-based conflicts between communities. It is also a challenge for aid workers to access and deliver aid to these areas. Humanitarian organisations have had to put in place extensive safety and security measures before delivering aid.

These conflicts also prevent the affected population from moving freely and safely to where humanitarian assistance is available.

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Risk

Electoral violence and increased intercommunal conflict throughout Kenya result in displacement, livelihood disruptions, and protection concerns Latest update: 27/03/2022

Probability

Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

Impact

Very low Moderate Major

RATIONALE

Violence has marred previous election periods in Kenya, where there has been an established pattern of disputed presidential election outcomes since 2007. In the run-up to the August 2022 general elections, politicians are mobilising support based on ethnic affiliation and socioeconomic difference.? Shifting political alliances have contributed to rising political tensions. In 2021, there were attempts to make constitutional amendments through the Building Bridges Initiative spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta, as well as a recent amendment to the political parties’ bill perceived to increase the political influence of one presidential candidate. These incidents further aggravated tensions and resulted in violent disruptions to political rallies in Githurai township (Kiambu county), Kisii town (Kisii county), and Murang’a town (Murang’a county). Violence and electoral malpractices characterised parliamentary by-elections that year, indicating that Kenya may not be on track for peaceful elections in August 2022.? During the current campaign, some politicians have made divisive public remarks, legally considered hate speech and incitement to violence. Hate speech and disinformation displayed on social media and digital platforms have the potential to degenerate into physical violence.? There is also distrust among the population towards key institutions that manage the electoral process. There was a highlight on the need for structural reforms in the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission after the 2017 elections, but there have been no significant changes since. Some politicians also believe that the judiciary is biased against them. There is a risk of violence and protests being seen as the only way to address electoral grievances.? Similar to the 2013 general elections, intercommunal conflicts could also increase in some drought-affected regions if political figures exploit and weaponise resource-based conflicts for political gain.?

IMPACT

As seen in past electoral periods, localised violence and increased intercommunal conflicts after elections could result in displacement. Past election-related violent events displaced up to 150,000 people. Arid and semi-arid counties like Elgeyo Marakwet, Isiolo, Laikipia, Marsabit, Migori, Samburu, Turkana, and West Pokot are particularly at risk of increased intercommunal conflict.?

Potential violence around the 2022 elections would possibly repeat various forms of violence that took place following elections in the past, including physical violence resulting in deaths and injuries, the destruction of property, intimidation, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Those affected by SGBV will need sexual and reproductive healthcare, psychological care, medical forensic services, and legal services, yet gaps exist in the provision of these services.? The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative economic impact on a significant proportion of the population, with female informal workers being the most affected. As a result, many Kenyans have become particularly vulnerable to any additional economic shocks resulting from the elections. Electoral violence could further disrupt livelihoods, particularly for people working in the informal sector. Similar to the 2017 post-election period, violence will likely make small-scale traders unable to access local markets. To avoid looting and property destruction, businesses may also temporarily remain closed after the elections.?

Read this risk