Situation report: Kenya drought response

2011 has been the driest period in the Eastern Horn of Africa since 1995, with reportedly the lowest level of rainfall in 60 years. As a result food security has deteriorated for most households in all arid and semi-arid regions in Kenya. CWS plans a response centered on the Mwingi and Kibwezi areas of Kenya, by providing emergency food relief, water tankering and long-term disaster risk reduction programs.

SITUATION:

2011 has been the driest period in the Eastern Horn of Africa since 1995, with reportedly the lowest level of rainfall in 60 years.

As a result food security – the access to and availability of food – has deteriorated for most households in all arid and semi-arid regions in Kenya as grazing land has dried up.

At present the situation has reached a point that communities cannot survive any longer without external support.  While the current emergency is being most severely felt in northern and eastern Kenya, areas reporting serious food deficits include southeastern marginal districts.  The emergency is expected to spread rapidly in the country as short-rains will not begin until October/November and increasing food prices cause country-wide food shortages.

The drought is having a severe impact across Kenya.  In addition to the food shortages brought on by failed crops, food prices, particularly of maize (Kenya's staple food), have increased dramatically.  The drought is affecting water supplies, livestock health and leading to increased incidences of conflict.  High rates of malnutrition are reported in most of the affected areas, at levels above the emergency threshold.

In all, more than 10 million people in East Africa are affected by the drought.  Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan are also affected by the drought.  In Kenya the total number of those estimated to be affected is up to 3.5 million; 2.4 million are thought to be "food insecure" in drought-affected areas.

CWS RESPONSE:

Church World Service, a member of the ACT Alliance, plans a response centered on the Mwingi and Kibwezi areas of Kenya, by providing emergency food relief, water tankering and long-term disaster risk reduction programs.  CWS will also support the response of other ACT Alliance members in Kenya.

An appeal to support these efforts is expected in the coming weeks.

HOW TO HELP: Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.

ACT Alliance  Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676, lcrosson@churchworldservice.org
Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526, jdragin@gis.net


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