Severe drought in Kenya is resulting in rapidly increasing levels of food insecurity and acute malnutrition. The Government of Kenya (GOK) declared drought a national disaster on 10 February 2017 and requested the international community to support and supplement national response measures.
Drought is having devastating effects on agricultural production and livestock conditions, reducing access to nutritious food and driving malnutrition.
Analysis of food price trends in the major urban markets reveals that wholesale maize prices are gradually increasing, and will be between 10 – 25 percent above the long-term average in most of these markets by the middle of 2017.Some coastal regions recorded 75% reduction to total harvest failure, and will not receive a major harvest until early 2018.
Livestock prices have dropped to 25% below average. Lack of pasture and browse is leading to irregular migration patterns and livestock deaths in some areas. Milk production, which is critical for child nutrition in pastoral communities, is 30% less than normal, while milk prices have doubled and consumption has halved.
In the absence of relief assistance, the food security and nutrition situation will undoubtedly deteriorate over the coming months. The long rains in mid-year may bring some improvement in livestock and crop production. However, long range forecasts are for below average rains. In which case any respite would be short lived, followed by even more severe and widespread needs. Comparisons are being drawn with the 2011 Horn of Africa drought.
The recent short rains assessment indicates that 2.6 million people will be food insecure and in need of assistance over the coming months. This is equivalent to 20% of the population in pastoral areas and 18% in marginal agricultural areas. In drought affected counties approximately 343,559 children aged 6-59 months are suffering from acute malnutrition. Of these, 75,010 are severely acute malnourished, and 268,549 are moderately acute malnourished.
This IR-EMOP seeks specifically to meet needs of the nutrition sector by supporting the treatment of 134,000 moderately acute malnourished children aged 6-59 months (based on coverage target of 50% in line with the SPHERE standards) in drought affected counties. Furthermore, nutrition programme information estimates that there are 37,000 moderately acute malnourished pregnant and lactating women in drought affected counties.
This IR-EMOP focuses exclusively on the procurement and delivery of Ready to Use Supplementary Food (RUSF) for the treatment of Moderate Acute Malnutrition among children 6-59 months. This reflects the isolation of the most important and time critical response priority and responds directly to a request from the Ministry of Health for WFP to undertake the procurement and delivery of these commodities. More broadly, WFP is developing plans and mobilising resources to scale up food and nutrition assistance in consultation with Government and partners. This includes further (than this IR-EMOP) resources for MAM treatment and prevention.
The duration of assistance will be 2 months from March to April 2017. The maximum IR-EMOP allocation of USD 1.5 million will be sufficient to procure 502mts of RUSF that will treat 134,000 children across the 23 counties of the ASALs. Commodities are currently available in the region and can be delivered to health facilities to resume treatment within 3 weeks of funding receipt.