Hunger In Kenya Worsens

Hunger In Kenya Worsens. Photo Courtesy

Hunger In Kenya Worsens

Not only comrades but also other Kenyans are too facing starvation in the country. About 1.4 million Kenyans are currently facing hunger, according to a Food and Nutrition Security Assessment report.

The situation is expected to further deteriorate during the March-May long rains season with an estimated two million people likely to experience acute food insecurity.

The assessment was carried out by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group between January 13 and February 18 to determine the impacts of the 2020 short rains on food and nutrition security in 23 ASAL counties.

The report shows that the number of people facing acute food insecurity is about 1.4 million, an increase from 739,000 reported during 2020 long rains assessment and therefore requiring food assistance.

Hunger In Kenya Worsens. Photo Courtesy

“Out of 1.4 million, it is estimated that 238,000 people spread across Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana, and Isiolo counties are in the emergency phase. The rest are in the crisis phase.”

The report attributes the increase in numbers to below normal performance of the short rains, thus worsening the already fragile food security situation in the ASALs.

“Moreover, the situation is expected to further deteriorate during the March-May long rains season with an estimated 2 million people likely to experience acute food insecurity,” it reads.

It states that the pastoral counties experienced a deterioration in food security situation owing to the lingering impact of the desert locust and Covid-19 control measures alongside below-average short rains.

1.4 million Kenyans facing hunger as food crisis worsens

In February, the National Drought Management Authority warned of a drought situation in Baringo, Isiolo, Kilifi, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir and Turkana.

According to the National Drought Early Warning for February the drought situation is worsening in Garissa, Lamu, Tana River, Samburu, West Pokot, Kitui, Laikipia and Kieni in Nyeri.

NDMA attributed the declining trend to the poor rainfall performance observed during the October-November-December 2020 short rains season in the affected areas.

“In addition the sunny, dry, and hot weather conditions that prevailed over most parts of the country in January 2021 also worsened the situation. This is because the higher-than-average daytime temperatures experienced in many ASAL counties led to high rates of evaporation and evapotranspiration.

“This caused faster reduction in water levels in open water sources and from the soil surface, hence resulting in rapid drying up of dams and water pans, and wilting in pasture and crops,” NDMA said.

It recommended the provision of food assistance and scale-up of cash transfers targeting food insecure households and treatment and vaccination against emerging livestock diseases.

This is in addition to the provision of drought-tolerant seeds and other farm inputs and tools to farmers and agro-pastoralists in preparation for the MAM season.

The authority also recommended the repair of broken-down water facilities such as strategic boreholes at the same time installing water harvesting structures in strategic institutions.

The recommendations also included scaling up mass screening and integrated medical outreaches targeting malnutrition hotspots in all ASAL counties.

The Kenya Food Security Steering Group emphasized key factors that need to be monitored over the next six months including the performance of the March to May long rains season and Covid-19 trends.

The steering group said the focus should also be put on the nutrition situation across the country given worsening projected trends, control of the desert locust swarms and possible resurgence, national food stocks, and livestock disease outbreaks.

Felicity Gitonga

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