22 January 2009
On 16 January, the President of Kenya declared the severe drought and livelihood crisis a national disaster. He appealed to development partners for emergency food and non-food assistance. According to the appeal, 10 million people are facing acute food shortages as follows: 3.2 million in the drought-affected traditional EMOP areas; 850,000 children who require emergency school feeding; 3.5 million urban poor; and, 2.5 million people affected by HIV/AIDS, including orphans and children.
The main causes of the severe food insecurity include the poor performance of the recent rainy season, decimation of goats and sheep by peste de petits ruminants (PPR) in pastoral areas, the continued increase in food prices and escalating resource-based conflicts in pastoral areas. In addition, there is reduced resilience due to the cumulative effects of consecutive years of eroded coping strategies caused by drought, floods and conflicts.
WFP is preparing for a massive scale up of the EMOP from the current 1.4 million beneficiaries to 3.2 million from March. However, as the current figures are based on early warning information, food security assessments will be carried out in February to clarify the exact needs. Also, the appeal document included needs up to August 2009 but the marginal agricultural areas, which are worst affected, do not expect significant harvests until March 2010.