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UNICEF Kenya Humanitarian Situation Report January to June 2019

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  • By May 2019, there were 1.6 million food insecure people in Kenya, up from 1.1 million people in February 2019, and the number is expected to increase to 2.5 million people by July 2019 due to escalating drought conditions.
  • In 2019, 3,036 cholera cases with 22 deaths have been reported across Tana River, Garissa, Wajir, Turkana, Baringo, Mandera, Marsabit, Kajiado and Narok counties
  • A total of 37,875 severely malnourished children and 61,522 moderately malnourished children were admitted for treatment from January to June 2019 with UNICEF support.
  • A total of 188,170 children have been reached with life-saving preventative and curative health interventions with UNICEF support.
  • With UNICEF support, 90,436, people in 10 counties affected by cholera and drought have benefitted from access to safe water through promotion of household water treatment and storage.
  • In 2019, UNICEF requires US$ 28.2 million for its Humanitarian Action for Children Appeal and has a funding gap of 73 per cent.

Situation in Numbers

People are food insecure
(2019 Long Rains Mid-Season Assessment, May 2019)
Children are food insecure
(2019 Long Rains Mid-Season Assessment, May 2019)
Children under 5 in need of severe acute malnutrition treatment
(Kenya Food and Nutrition Security Seasonal Assessments, March 2019)

UNICEF HAC Appeal 2019
US$ 28,299,494

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

The deficient performance of the October to December 2018 ‘short rains’ season and the subsequent below normal and poorly distributed March to May 2019 long rains resulted in severe drought conditions in Kenya, especially in the arid and semi-arid (ASAL) counties. As a result, the food security and nutrition situation has deteriorated with the estimated food-insecure population in crisis (IPC phase three) increasing from 700,000 people in August 2018 to 1.1 million in February 2019, and up to 1.6 million in May 2019.5 In addition, more households were stressed (IPC phase two) in June compared to February 2019 with Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Baringo and Isiolo counties accounting for most of the increase. The food security situation is expected to deteriorate further with the decline in income and food sources in the ASAL counties. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) outlook indicates significant declines in food security between June and September 2019. According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), it is estimated that the food insecure population is expected to reach 2.5 million people by July 2019 due to the escalating drought conditions.

According to NDMA early warning bulletins, the drought status in the ASAL counties has been deteriorating and in May 2019, eight counties were classified in alarm phase while 13 counties were in alert phase. Access to water remains a key challenge in arid counties with most of the water pans dried up, and with over 40 per cent of the population relying on boreholes further exerting pressure on existing facilities and leading to frequent breakdowns. In addition, distance to water sources for both livestock and human increased to between 50 and 100 percent of normal, up to above a five-year average. Children have continued to be more vulnerable to the drought due to drought-related intercommunal conflict and negative coping mechanisms by families, with an increase in neglect and exploitation of children being reported, thus exacerbating protection risks. About 25 schools in Wajir, Garissa and Baringo counties with an enrolment of over 6,000 (2,500 girls) learners have been affected by drought-related intercommunal conflict, leading to increased student absenteeism, school dropouts and poor school attendance, especially at early childhood and Primary school levels.

According to the Integrated Phase Classification for Acute Malnutrition (IPC AMN) conducted in February 2019, the nutrition situation varied widely with emergency levels of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) ≥15 per cent being reported in Turkana, North Horr, Mandera East Pokot and North Horr (Phase 4; GAM WHZ 15.0 - 29.9 per cent). The situation was projected to remain stable except for Wajir and Tana river counties during the projection period (March to May 2019) based on the information that was available at the time. The analysis further warned there was potential for fast deterioration if the rains performed poorly, which would result in the deterioration in the food security situation. Subsequently, the performance of the 2019 long rains was poor and this has impacted negatively on the nutrition security situation with reduced availability of milk at household level and increasing food prices being reported across the pastoral counties. According to the sentinel data collected through the NDMA early warning system an increasing trend of children with MUAC (less than 135 millimeters) has been reported in Meru North, Baringo, Samburu, Tana River. Further, Turkana, Tana River, Samburu, Wajir, Baringo, Lamu, and Meru North have reported proportions of children less than 135 millimeters, which is higher than the May long term average.

Stable trends were observed in the rest of the ASAL counties. The Nutrition situation is expected to continue deteriorating steadily given the cumulative effect of the below average performance of the 2019 long rains and the 2018 short rains. The Ministry of Health and partners will be conducting integrated nutrition SMART survey in the months of June and July in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana, West Pokot and Baringo (East Pokot and Marigat/Baringo North and will continue to closely monitor the nutrition situation across all the counties. Further, integrated phase classification for acute malnutrition will be conducted during the 2019 long rains assessment in July 2019 and will provide updated nutrition IPC maps by August 2019.

Disease outbreaks have continued to plague the country since January 2019, with alerts for new outbreaks being issued by the concerned authorities. Kenya remains on high alert due to the lengthy Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and especially following the spread of the outbreak to neighbouring Uganda in early June 2019. Considering Kenya’s cross-border trade with Uganda, and high population movement across the border, coupled with the porous regional borders and Kenya being a key regional and international travel hub, there is a highrisk of an imported Ebola outbreak into the country, and surveillance has been heightened. All suspected cases in Kenya have tested negative for Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers to-date. According to the Ministry of Health, drought conditions have exacerbated disease outbreaks in the first half of the year. Since January 2019, a total of 1,564 cases of visceral leishmaniasis (Kala Azar) have been reported (261 cases in Wajir; 1,303 in Marsabit). A total of 7,129 measles cases with 54 deaths have been reported, with most of the cases (67 percent) reported in ASAL counties. Cholera cases have increased from 71 cases with two deaths across two counties by 14 January 2019 to 3,036 cases with 20 deaths across nine counties by 24 June 2019.

The Kenya refugee operation continues to be marked by the political developments and humanitarian situation in Somalia and South Sudan. Kenya remains among the top refugee hosting countries in Africa. According to UNHCR, Kenya hosts 476,695 refugees and asylum seekers (58 per cent children) as of May 2019. Of these, 211,544 are in Dadaab refugee camps and 190,181 are in Kakuma refugee camp. The mmajority of refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya originate from Somalia (54.5 percent) and South Sudan (24.4 percent). Since the beginning of 2019, 4616 refugee children (2047 boys;2047 girls) have arrived in Kakuma refugee camp from South Sudan. Out of these, 1213 (753 boys and 460 girls) children are separated and 198 (93 boys; 105 girls) are unaccompanied. In Dadaab, 106,550 children of school-going age (3-17 years) are currently in Dadaab, of which only 65,373 are enrolled in school (62 per cent of Gross Enrolment Rate). Since December 2014, 79,113 Somali refugees have returned home (6,324 in 2018; 33,398 in 2017; 33,219 in 2016), resulting in IFO2 and Kambioos camps being closed. Voluntary repatriation will continue in 2019 for Somalis and other nationalities, if the situation permits in the countries of origin, however, the number recorded is very low.