Kenya is currently experiencing a prolonged drought largely as a result of below average precipitation from the seasonal short rains (October-December) and long rains (April-June). Prevailing dry conditions across the Horn of Africa have led to the deterioration of farmland and pastures, loss of livestock, sharply increased food prices, and reduction of the availability of water, in Kenya as well as Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda. Food, livelihood, WASH, health, and protection needs are present, particularly in Kenya’s pastoral zones in the north and northeast, and are expected to increase in the coming months with the continuation of the 2019 lean season through September.
Significantly above-average rainfall since the beginning of the Long Rains rainy season in March have led to flooding across the country. Between 244,000 and 260,000 people are estimated to have been displaced. Rains are expected to continue in the following weeks, meaning further flooding is likely and recovery will take time. Among the displaced population, there are needs for shelter, food, WASH, and health assistance. Active cholera outbreaks are ongoing in Garissa, Turkana, Meru, West Pokot, Isiolo, and Nairobi, and there is a risk of further spread or new outbreaks in flood-affected areas. Response is ongoing but capacity is stretched.
Following security operations in Moyale, Ethiopia, some 10,000 people have been displaced to Moyale in Marsabit county, Kenya, since 10 March. The displaced population is currently staying in makeshift camps around Moyale. 80% of the displaced people are women and children, including 600 pregnant women and 1,500 children under five. Multisectoral assistance is urgently needed.
Outbreaks of Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, have been reported in DRC, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Ghana and Kenya. Regionally, around 330,000 hectares of staple crops, especially maize, have been affected. The remaining southern African mainland countries remain at high risk. The severity of the impact on regional crop production is yet to be established. The damages caused by the infestation depend on the stage at which the pest attacked the plant. Crops that were infested during the early stages of crop development, in late December, had to be replanted, while those infested later in their growth seem to have recovered without intervention.
Update: The further spread of Fall Armyworm was observed in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe in March. Damage from existing outbreaks was also sustained in Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia. While further outbreaks are expected only in northern Tanzania in the coming months, all countries are advised to continue monitoring diligently and to apply appropriate preventative measures. Although the Fall Armyworm season is expected to end in June, long-term impacts are expected for affected countries, and neighbouring countries should also remain diligent.
As of July, 1.2 million people in Kenya acutely need food assistance, an increase of 500,000 from February. Most food insecure people are in Garissa, Tana River, and Isiolo counties, in the centre-east. Such levels of food insecurity are typical for Kenya and do not represent any major deterioration.
This briefing note focuses on four counties in the pastoral northwest and northeast (Mandera, Marsabit, Turkana, West Pokot), and on two counties in southeast and coastal areas (Kilifi, Tana River). Tana River, Marsabit. and Kilifi are worst affected. Global acute malnutrition (GAM) and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) rates are reported to be above the emergency threshold in West Pokot and Turkana, where malnutrition rates are often very high.