Building of water pans in Turkana. Part of the WFP Food for Assets programme to build resilience and improve food security (Copyright:WFP/Rose Ogola)
Below average rains, increased food prices and conflicts, have contributed to a 15 percent increase in the number of people requiring food assistance. A Long Rains food security assessment recently released by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) estimates that 1.5 million people are acutely food insecure and will require immediate food assistance over the next six months (September 2014 – February 2015). This is almost double the 850,000 that were in need during the same period last year.
With the peak of the lean season yet to set in, and the next rains expected in mid-October, the food and nutrition security situation will likely worsen, prompting the need for urgent response. The poor rains resulted in below-average crop production and weak recovery of rangeland conditions. In pastoral and agro pastoral areas, forage conditions were fair to poor with 70 percent to 80 percent of ground water sources reported to be exhausted. The current areas of concern include parts of Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, Mandera, Samburu, Baringo and West Pokot. In the Arid areas the large majority of counties have general acute malnutrition (GAM) rates that are critical (>15%) or very critical (>20%) and this is a significant deterioration compared to last year.
WFP is currently providing general food distributions (GFD) to 530,000 people in Kenya. That number will rise based on the current situation.
WFP is also providing cash and food assistance to 700,000 vulnerable people in order for them to build assets at household and community levels which enhance their resilience to shocks. Support focuses on rainwater harvesting for crop and livestock production, rehabilitation of degraded land, and increased production of drought-tolerant and high value cash crops.
“ Through cash and food for asset programmes WFP is meeting the immediate requirements of vulnerable people in need,” said Ronald Sibanda, WFP Country Director Kenya. “We are working closely with government and partners to help people permanently out of food insecurity and into diversified sustainable livelihoods,” he added.
Sustainability is embedded into these activities by ensuring that communities participate in project and problem identification, planning and implementation.
Going forward, WFP will support government at national and county levels in developing long-term hunger solutions in alignment with the Government’s Ending Drought Emergency Plan, Second Medium Term Plan (2013-2017) of Vision 2030, and the 2014–2018 United Nations Development Assistance Framework.