Search

 

Cablegate: Kenya Drought Update - September 2006

VZCZCXYZ0013
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #3988/01 2570723
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 140723Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4256
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 1718
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4993
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3992
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS NAIROBI 003988

SIPDIS

AIDAC

SIPDIS

USAID/DCHA FOR MHESS, WGARVELINK, LROGERS
DCHA/OFDA FOR KISAACS, GGOTTLIEB, AFERRARA,
ACONVERT,CGOTTSHALK, KCHANNELL, LPOWERS, CABLA
(A)AA/AFR FOR WWARREN
DCHA/FFP FOR BHAMMINK, JDWORKEN, DNELSON, SBRADLEY
AFR/EA FOR JESCALONA, JBORNS
ROME FOR FODAG
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER
STATE FOR AF/E, AF/EPS
NSC FOR JMELINE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID KE
SUBJECT: KENYA DROUGHT UPDATE - September 2006

REF: A. NAIROBI 738 B. 05 NAIROBI 7345 AND PREVIOUS

SUMMARY

1. Kenya's long rains (March-June) food security
interagency assessment has been completed. The overall
assessment process and methodology was coordinated and
backstopped by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group
(KFSSG) comprising of representatives of GOK, NGO and UN
agencies.

2. The assessment reveals modest improvements in food
security in some marginal agricultural areas in the
southeast and coastal districts as well as in parts of
pastoral districts. However, productivity of livestock
is low in pastoral areas, after normal reproductive
patterns were disrupted by the devastating consecutive
years of drought. The assessment confirms that a
sizeable proportion of pastoralists lost substantial
herds and are now destitute, camped close to local
centers. Hence, food security in most pastoral areas
remains precarious and pastoralists' food security is
sustained, for the most part, by significant levels of
food aid. Modest harvests in the marginal agricultural
areas suggest that current improvements are temporary
and food security will remain an issue until the next
key harvest beginning in March 2007.


3. The Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG)
recommends that approximately 2.95 million persons in 25
Arid and Semi-Arid Areas (ASALs) continue to receive
food aid until their status improves following the next
short-rains harvest. This caseload includes
approximately 554,000 children that are targeted under
school feeding programs in the drought affected
districts. According to the World Food Program,
approximately 180,679 MT of food is required to address
immediate relief needs of the 2.95 million persons
through February 2007. It is anticipated that the GOK
will request donors and humanitarian groups to continue
providing key humanitarian assistance to drought
affected Kenyans following the issuance of the long-
rains assessment report to be officially released on
September 14, 2006. End summary.

The food security assessment framework

4. An interagency and multi-sectoral food security
assessment, organized by the Kenya Food Security Group
(KFSSG) has completed the fieldwork and data analysis
and is expected to issue its final report on September
14, 2006.

5. The assessment methodology was based on a
livelihoods approach to understanding vulnerability, and
used an adapted version (for rapid assessment) of the
household food economy method for the field data
collection. The assessment covered 25 districts from
August 10-31, 2006. It included quantitative data
collection at the household, market and community level
and more in-depth discussions with the District Steering
Groups (DSGs). As appropriate, the assessment teams
held separate meetings with lead NGOs dealing with food
security that have representation in the District, local
district experts, local community based organizations,
etc.

6. Based on the assessment, approximately 2.95 million
persons in Kenya will require various short to medium
term relief assistance through the next short rains
harvest in March 2007. The relief requirement includes
an estimated 180,679 MT of food and over US$8 million
worth of non-food assistance in health and nutrition,
water and sanitation, and emergency agricultural and
livestock interventions.

Food security and agro-climatic conditions

7. According to FEWS/NET, Kenya experiences mild
cyclical drought events approximately every 3-5 years
with more severe dry periods roughly in ten-year cycles.
Since 1998, successive poor rainy seasons have limited
the ability of poor households in parts of the ASAL
(Arid and Semi-Arid Lands) to recover lost assets and
employ traditional coping mechanisms. In addition to
lack of rains, limited purchasing power, political
marginalization (in the pastoralist context) and limited
livelihood options are exacerbating the drought in
Kenya.

8. The 2006 long-rains were erratic, characterized by
an early start and early cessation in drought-affected
areas, compounded by uneven spatial and temporal
distribution. Although the 2006 long rains ended in
June in most of Kenya, the western half of the country
as well as the southern coastal areas experienced
unseasonable showers during late July and early August.
The rains had little impact on crops outside western
Kenya, as most of the crop has been harvested. However,
the showers have benefited pasture and browse in
northwestern pastoral districts, after an unusually
early cessation of the long rains in May. Little or no
rains occurred in the eastern and northeastern pastoral
districts save in localized areas.

9. The Arid Lands Resource Management Project (ALRMP)
has reported that localized areas in the northwestern
pastoral districts have received reprieve from the dry
conditions, after unseasonable showers in Marsabit,
Baringo, Moyale, Samburu, West Pokot and Turkana
districts towards the end of July and early August. In
most other pastoral districts, pasture, browse and water
are steadily declining. This situation is not expected
to improve before the next short-rains season (October -
December, 2006). Therefore, watering and grazing
distances are increasing dramatically as livestock
migrate to dry season grazing areas. Water trucking has
re-started in localized areas such as in southern Wajir
and northern Mandera due to the depletion of key surface
water sources. Water quality is problematic and
contamination by carcasses in parts of Mandera District
and high salinity in Garissa has limited the use of some
key water sources. An upsurge in disease and incidence
of conflict mainly over scarce resources has further
complicated the dire food insecurity situation in the
drought affected pastoral and agro-pastoral areas.


10. The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) has revised the
total estimated national maize output for 2006 down to
2.52 million MT from the original estimate of 2.9
million MT. The revision was necessitated by an
extended dry spell in southern and coastal districts and
the Rift Valley lowlands that lasted nearly one month
and extended up to the harvest time. Yet, the revised
estimate represents a 15 percent increase over the
average long-rains national maize output.


Emergency Operation (EMOP) status

11. The Kenya Emergency Operation (EMOP) is scheduled
to continue through February 2007. An estimated 2.95
million beneficiaries in 25 predominantly pastoral, agro
pastoral and marginal agricultural districts will be
targeted for emergency food distribution. According to
the World Food Program approximately 180,679 MT of foods
is required to address immediate relief needs of 2.95
million persons through February 2007. Existing
pipeline will not go beyond end of October. Currently,
the total shortfall is about 75,524 MT of which 87
percent is in cereals. Latest USG contribution of 2,500
MT in assorted commodities is not expected until
December.

12. More recent non-USG contributions include
US$500,000 from African Development Bank, US$100,000,
from the GOK and an unconfirmed contribution of Euro
500,000 from Spain.


Conclusion and recommendation

13. As per the long-rains assessment, the relatively
modest 2006 long-rains in marginal agricultural areas
have resulted in immediate relief after intense drought
conditions that intensified during the first quarter of
2005 through March 2006. However, due to successive
years of inadequate rains, livelihoods of pastoralists
and agro-pastoralists, in particular, have deteriorated
markedly and recovery has been ominously slow. The slow
recovery, rising conflict and fragile nutritional status
underline the poor prospects that the pastoral and agro-
pastoral communities face in the short to medium term.
The marginal crop producers also remain highly food
insecure after a mediocre season followed up on the
heels of a failed season. While the long-rains season is
not the primary season in marginal agricultural areas,
it often forms a critical bridge to the more significant
short-rains season (October-December).

14. The food crisis in Kenya's Arid and Semi Arid
pastoral and marginal agricultural areas is clearly much
deeper than emergency. It is rather a fundamentally
chronic poverty problem, necessitating strategies to
address the root causes of food insecurity. This calls
for more dialogue and policy actions by the GOK that
promote targeted investment in the 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.

15. USAID/Kenya will continue to play an active role in
the dialogue around understanding the factors underlying
repeated food crisis in various parts of the country to
find 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 appropriate manner.

16. Meantime, given the likelihood of an emergency food
pipeline break beyond October 2006, the USG should
sustain its relief assistance to meet urgent food and
non-food needs of millions of people expected to suffer
from the protracted drought. RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: UN Strongly Condemns Knife Attack Inside Nice Church Which Left Three Dead

The UN Secretary-General on Thursday strongly condemned a knife attack inside a French church in the southern French city of Nice, which reportedly left three worshippers dead. In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres extended his ... More>>

ALRANZ: Denounces US Senate Confirmation Of Judge Barrett

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa denounces the US Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. “This action demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of the once-respected upper chamber ... More>>

UN News: Millions Affected As Devastating Typhoon Strikes Viet Nam

A major typhoon has struck central Viet Nam, affecting millions of people – including about 2.5 million children – in a region already reeling from the effects of severe floods, according to UN agencies in the country. There are also reports that 174 ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>