The inadequate long and the short rains due to climate change impacts in 2016 has caused communities in the arid and semi- arid (ASAL) parts of Kenya to experience varied levels of food insecurity. By 27th January, the people in need of humanitarian assistance had risen from 1.3 million in August 2016 to 2.7 million. This represents 20% of the population in pastoral areas and 16% in marginal agricultural areas. The worst affected sectors remain food, water and livestock.
Counties in the former North Rift, Eastern, North Eastern and parts of Coast provinces are especially hard hit by the drought. 13 out of 23 ASAL counties are the worst hit and on a dropping trend to emergency while another 11 could drop to alarm.
The Government of Kenya on 10th February 2016 declared the drought a national disaster calling upon the local, international and stakeholders to support in responding to the worsening humanitarian crisis. Unfortunately, this is not the first declaration of drought as a national disaster, the latest being the drought event of 2011-12 yet evidence of resilience built through long term planning particularly the Ending Drought Emergencies blue- print over the period is less evident
ActionAid has been monitoring the impact of the drought on the people we work with through continuous situational assessments, ASAL and cluster meetings to determine the level of need of the affected communities in 10 of our 14 LRPs with a population of 179,467 most of who are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, livelihood protection and protection of women rights in emergencies. The worst affected communities are pastoralists and agro-pastoralists who occupy the arid and semi-arid lands of Isiolo, Baringo, Kilifi, West Pokot and Garissa counties.
ActionAid Kenya is providing humanitarian assistance – meeting minimal immediate needs to save lives and livelihoods by providing sustainable water, destocking and food in line with our core humanitarian standards. We are using such interventions as entry points to work with communities to build their capacity to challenge the power dynamics that compound poverty and make them vulnerable to livelihood shocks as we shift existing power dynamics and give women a chance to take on leadership roles and enhance their protection mechanism.
We are equally supporting communities to hold the state and other duty bearers accountable through our support to the policy dialogue and influencing at local level.
However, these well planned actions may not be fully and adequately achieved without your support. See how Chepochemuna and her children in West Pokot are surviving on wild fruits while Maria in the Isiolo region has to walk more than 4 kilometers to a water point and magically evade the dangers caused by wild animals – Elephants so as to fetch some water. These women represents a huge number of women who are facing protection challenges with a high risk of sexual violence coupled by the double burden of providing and caring for their families.