Drought situation continues to deteriorate in Kenya: Alliance2015 members and the ASAL Humanitarian Network

In the developing Horn of Africa drought crisis, and as attention on the situation in Somalia rises, Kenya is at risk of falling into the shadows.

Kenya has now experienced four consecutive failed rainy seasons and is likely to experience a fifth by the end of 2022. As livestock die and crop production reduces, families are struggling to access sufficient food.

A lack of milk for children and lactating women is having a significant impact on nutrition.

FEWS NET last week raised concerns of a possible risk of IPC (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification) 5 in Kenya across the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) by the end of the year. Six counties may face an emergency level of food security (IPC 4) and eight a crisis level (IPC 3). There are also widespread critical levels of malnutrition, with 942,000 children in need of malnutrition treatment.

Alliance2015 members and the ASAL Humanitarian Network (AHN) have a wide footprint across the ASALs and have switched overwhelmingly to emergency programming to stave off the worst effects of a food security, nutrition and WASH crisis.

To fight food insecurity, cash is proving a particularly effective tool. ACTED leads the Kenya Cash Consortium and with the AHN, Concern and Oxfam, sustained cash assistance across the ASALs is improving food consumption and dietary diversity. Welthungerhilfe (WHH) also uses cash in Marsabit, Turkana, Tana River and Kajiado, and Cesvi in Isiolo. As prices continue to rise, families struggle to meet their basic needs, forcing them to make tough choices and prioritize expenses. Urgent scale up and continuous market monitoring is needed to address rising malnutrition and food insecurity.

To improve nutrition outcomes, Concern and WHH are supporting integrated nutrition outreach by county governments, facilitating surveillance and referral of malnutrition cases as well as the prepositioning of nutrition supplies in various health facilities. However, this must be scaled up, along with the provision of nutrition supplies and essential medicines to health facilities in remote areas. Since nutrition cannot be addressed solely by treatment, nutrition interventions must be integrated with those improving food security.

To address the WASH situation, Alliance2015 members and the AHN are implementing a broad range of activities to safeguard access to water, both for families and livestock, suitable sanitation and effective hygiene. This includes rehabilitation of strategic water points, provision of essential hygiene items and trainings to prevent water-borne diseases.

Alliance2015 members and AHN partners call for:

Urgent and equitable attention on Kenya for drought response funding: Currently allocated resources are insufficient as national and international humanitarian actors urgently require significant additional resources to save lives and protect livelihoods in the short-term;

Urgent planning for medium term actions: Given the long-lasting impact on livelihoods and food production, the situation will not be reversed even with a fair rainy season. Agro-pastoralists in particular will need support to recover and diversify their income-generating activities to build back resilience and the ability to withstand future shocks;

Continued support to national humanitarian actors at the forefront of the response:

Alliance2015 members work overwhelmingly in partnership with national actors and support the strengthening of locally-led humanitarian response to ensure effective targeting and a quality, efficient and timely response;

Scaled up investment in early action mechanisms: Humanitarian donors and responders, along with other relevant stakeholders, must continue to invest in early warning and early action approaches. These approaches should link identification with response through clear financing mechanisms to mitigate the impact of slow-onset crises, such as drought.

Source: ASAL Humanitarian Network

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