Cablegate: Kenya Drought Update - 2006/7 Short Rains


DE RUEHNR #1782/01 1101014
O 201014Z APR 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



1. Kenya's interagency food security assessment for the
2006/7 short-rains (October- December) has been
completed. The overall assessment process and
methodology was coordinated and backstopped by the Kenya
Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) comprising
representatives of line ministries within the GOK, NGO
and UN agencies.

2. The assessment revealed significant improvement in
food security in most parts of the country including the
pastoral areas. However, an upsurge in diseases, most
notably the Rift Valley Fever (RVF), Lumpy Skin Disease
and the contagious bovine pleuro pneumonia, reversed
anticipated gains from favorable short rains, and the
impacts of these diseases are being felt in some
pastoralist districts. Additionally, the cumulative
impact of several previous years of drought on
livelihoods should not be underemphasized. While
emergency relief food helped to save lives and to
prevent further deterioration of the asset base, the
underlying causes of food insecurity continue to haunt
hundreds of thousands of Kenyans.

3.3. .The Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) has
recommended that 919,843 persons, situated predominantly
in the pastoral areas, continue to be targeted under
general feeding and cash/food for asset programs through
September 2007. In addition, KFSSG recommends that
391,772 children continue to participate in school
feeding programs. In total, just over 1.3 million
persons will be targeted under various programs that are
aimed at meeting immediate needs while enhancing
recovery. This number represents a significant drawdown
from the initial caseloads of 3.1 million targeted
beneficiaries at the height of the 2006 drought,
subsequently reduced to 2.4 million. Gross food
requirements for the next six months (April-September)
are estimated at 84,723 MT, valued at approximately
US$48 million. Of this, 60,000 MT is already resourced
either in country or in the pipeline, leaving a net
requirement of approximately 25,000 MT valued at US$14
million. A specific request for emergency food aid will
be forthcoming pending further discussions with the GOK,
WFP and other donors.

4. The KFSSG has also emphasized that urgent
mitigation and recovery programs are central to
sustaining the recovery process, noting that the absence
of such programs has often led to the use of relief
assistance as a stop-gap measure even as chronic food
insecurity becomes entrenched. End summary.


5. An interagency and multi-sectoral food security
assessment organized by the Kenya Food Security Group
(KFSSG) completed the fieldwork and data analysis and
issued its final report on April 12, 2007.

6. This is the first assessment that has used the
Integrated Food Security and Humanitarian Phase
Classification System (IPC) as the analytical framework
for situation and response analysis. The IPC is
developed by the Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU) of
the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and is
designed to add rigor to food security analysis and be
transparent and evidence-based. Because it employs a

uniform set of indicators, and internationally
recognized thresholds for many of them, the IPC provides
a common currency for food security and humanitarian
analysis that allows direct comparisons within and
between countries. The IPC has four components. The
first component is Phase Classification, which is a
scale running from Generally Food Secure and Chronically
Food Insecure, through Acute Livelihoods Crisis, to
Humanitarian Emergency and finally Famine/Humanitarian
Catastrophe. Each phase is assigned based on a
convergence of evidence that is framed by the second
component - the Key Reference Outcomes - together with
other indirect evidence that is available. The Strategic
Framework (third component) allows analysis to recommend
the broad types of response that would meet immediate
and underlying needs of people in the different phases.
Finally, the Early Warning component provides
information on the direction of change and relative

7. Based on this analytical framework, the assessment
revealed the following key findings:

8. I) Of the thirty-two vulnerable districts assessed
(some under the current EMOP) that fall within the
marginal mixed farming livelihoods zone and pockets in
the agro-pastoral zone, six in the eastern, four in the
coastal belt, and five mixed-farming areas are
considered Generally Food Secure. These districts
received good levels of rainfall and an above average
harvest, resulting in increased food availability at
household level, food diversity on the market, and low
and stable cereal prices. Hence, no food interventions
are recommended in view of these food security

9. II) Eight districts (some districts partially)
within the pastoral livelihoods and marginal mixed
farming livelihoods zone, are classified under the
Chronically Food Insecure Phase ? Alert Level. This
classification is based on the fact that the main food
security indicators, including food consumption and food
diversity, are chronically at the minimum threshold
levels. However, as market food availability and access
conditions have improved, general food distributions and
selective feeding are not considered viable or necessary
options. Expanded school feeding and cash interventions
are recommended due to food availability in the market.
Food for assets will be considered in the absence of
readily available cash intervention programs in the
pastoral areas.

10. III) Three districts in the pastoral
livelihood zone (Marsabit, Samburu and Kwale hinterland)
that have received favorable rainfall, and were mostly
spared from the RVF outbreak, are classified under the
Chronically Food Insecure Phase ? Moderate Risk.
Significant household food deficits still exist in
certain geographic areas under this phase classification
as the recovery process has not yet been full completed.
Food for assets is recommended due to food access and
availability constraints. General Food Distribution is
recommended for the interim until appropriate programs
are established. Selective feeding is recommended in
areas of high malnutrition.

11. IV) Four pastoral districts (Mandera, Turkana,
Wajir and parts of Isiolo)characterized by widespread
long-term unsustainable use of natural resources (land
and water), persistent and cyclical recurrence of
production shortfalls, health epidemics, and chronic
malnutrition are classified under Chronically Food
Insecure Phase ? High Risk. Although these areas were
not affected directly by the RVF -- and hence no
livestock death was reported or human lives lost --

markets were disrupted, which affected incomes of local
households. General Food Distribution is recommended
until food availability and access constraints are
mitigated and Cash Interventions and/or Food for Assets
Interventions are operational. Selective feeding is
recommended in view of high malnutrition.

12. V) Five districts comprising most of the
eastern pastoral livelihoods zone (Garissa, Ijara,
Isiolo, Tana River and Wajir)are classified under Acute
Food and Livelihood Crisis Phase. This cluster
represents chronically food insecure areas affected by
multiple shocks that have pushed the food security line
below the minimum acceptable for the livelihood zone.
The drought and floods, followed by RVF, have resulted
in infrastructure damage, massive livestock death,
market disruption and loss of income for pastoralists.
General Food Distribution is recommended while
supporting and phasing in Cash for Work and Food for
Assets interventions. Recommended also is Expanded and
Strengthened Selective Feeding in combination with other
interventions in view of high malnutrition rates.


13. Based on the above findings derived from the
IPC analytical framework, the KFSSG has recommended that
just over 1.3 million persons continue to receive relief
assistance. Of these, 919,843 are targeted for general
distribution and cash/food for asset programs, 120,000
under the selective feeding program, and 271,772
children under the expanded school feeding program. In
spite of this caseload and continued need for emergency
assistance, KFSSG argues that the observed widespread
improvement in food security should provide the best
opportunity for systematically addressing the underlying
causes of food insecurity that invariably amplify the
impacts of any one poor season.

14. In view of this, the KFSSG has proposed several
of interventions that could take advantage of current
favorable food security conditions and build the
resilience of pastoral livelihoods. These interventions
include: piloting cash-based transfers in selected
districts; establishing a certification system for the
Rift Valley Fever and other diseases requiring
quarantines; rehabilitating infrastructure in the
market-dependent pastoral livelihood zones; addressing
chronically high malnutrition and poor access to health
services; assisting destitute pastoralists; improving
land, water and crop management; strengthening national
drought management capacity and enhancing emergency
preparedness; and enacting the national policy for
sustainable development of Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of
Kenya. According to the assessment report, in order to
carry out specific activities under each area of
intervention in the next six months, the agriculture
sector needs US$8.3 million; livestock sector US$28.6
million; water and sanitation US$10 million, and health
and nutrition US$3.4 million.


15. Emergency relief assistance in Kenya has been
instrumental in saving lives and averting major
humanitarian crises. The USG alone provided over US$140
million emergency assistance over the last year and a
half through various programs, including food aid and
non-food relief assistance to drought-affected and other

vulnerable populations -- including refugees who fled
from neighboring countries due to protracted war and
insecurity. The USG also responded to the recent Rift
Valley Fever outbreak in Kenya by donating 800,000
critically needed doses of live-attenuated vaccines
valued at $471,000. Emergency assistance is critical in
saving lives and addressing short-term food security
concerns, and the USG should continue to extend such
assistance. However, unless such emergency assistance
is complemented by urgently needed mitigation and
recovery programs, short-term emergency assistance alone
will not have the optimal impact. This is clearly
demonstrated by the fact that in spite of large food
disbursements, food insecurity has risen precariously
(particularly in the pastoral areas) in Kenya since

16. Key underlying causes of food insecurity in
pastoral areas need to be addressed comprehensively
through coordinated mitigation, recovery and long-term
development programs. In the absence of those programs,
households are unable to recover completely when
conditions do improve, due to the cumulative impact of
droughts and other natural disasters. Other key issues
that need to be addressed in a sustained manner include:
a poorly functioning infrastructure for a livelihood
(livestock production) that is heavily market-dependent
as well as for overall economic integration and growth;
sustained debilitating conflict and extensive land
degradation due to over-use of scarce resources; a rise
in destitution and dependency on external assistance;
and a lack of complementary and/or alternative economic

17. However, there appears to be an increasing
recognition among the donor community, UN Agencies and
the GoK that comprehensive recovery and longer-term
development programs are critical to preventing cyclical
vulnerability and to sustaining food security. In this
connection, various formal and informal discussions have
been held among donor groups to map out best strategies
on how to move this agenda forward with tangible
political and resource commitment from the GoK.
USAID/Kenya, as the largest food aid donor (at times
next to the GoK) in the country, is taking a lead role
in this discussion, along with DFID, UN agencies, the
EU, World Bank and other interested donor

18. Recognizing the need for supplementary assistance
to finance initiatives which create conditions and
opportunities for the chronically food insecure,
USAID/East Africa requested and programmed $19.8 million
from the International Disaster and Famine Assistance
("famine Fund") for the Regional Enhanced Livelihoods in
Pastoral Program (RELPA). RELPA comprises several
interrelated components aimed at addressing chronic
failure of the pastoralist livelihood system in the
Mandera Triangle - a large, arid region encompassing
parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, which was the
epicenter of 2006 hunger crisis in the Horn. The
program incorporates a $10 million program (Enhanced
Livelihoods in the Mandera Triangle) to implement
activities that are expected to increase the self-
reliance of the populations in pastoral areas. RELPA
also seeks to increase the level of engagement of the
governments in the target area to focus on longer-term
development needs of their ASAL populations, under the
overarching coordination of COMESA.

19. The underlying causes of the prolonged food crisis
in Kenya's Arid and Semi-Arid pastoral and marginal
agricultural areas clearly go much deeper than emergency
assistance programs alone can address. The problem is
fundamentally one of chronic poverty, necessitating

strategies to address the root causes of food insecurity
on a sustained basis. This calls for more dialogue with
and policy actions by the GOK that promote targeted and
sustained investments in the Arid and Semi-Arid areas in
order to reduce levels of poverty and extreme
vulnerability. Notwithstanding the climate variations
and the ensuing unreliability of rains, the areas are
endowed with diverse resources that, if managed
creatively, could significantly improve the livelihoods
of the communities at risk.

20. USAID/Kenya will continue to play an active role in
the dialogue around understanding the factors underlying
repeated food crises in various parts of the country and
in finding new approaches to protect poor people from
short-term shocks and reduce their food insecurity in
the medium term. This discussion will contribute to
joint GOK-donor commitment to tackling chronic food
insecurity in a more effective manner.

21. In the meantime, given the existing emergency food
pipeline gap, the USG should sustain its relief
assistance to meet the urgent food and non-food needs of
1.3 million persons expected to suffer from the
protracted drought over the coming six months. A
specific request for emergency food aid will be
forthcoming pending further discussions with the GOK,
WFP and other donors.


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