Mid-Year Review of the Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan for Kenya 2011
The review of the Kenya 2011+ Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan coincides with the Government of Kenya’s 30 May declaration on drought being a national disaster. The grave combination of drought-induced crop failure due to climate variability, livestock deaths, rising food and non-food prices, eroding coping capacities, and shortfalls in food and non-food assistance levels are expected to weaken food security to emergency levels among pastoralists in the northern, eastern and north-eastern provinces and to crisis levels for some marginal agricultural farm households after June, following the failed 2011 long rains. According to the May FewsNet food security outlook , the food security of 2.4 million people is classified as Stressed or Crisis levels, requiring immediate food and non-food assistance to mitigate further declines in food security. Children under five are increasingly exposed to malnutrition associated with the current drought conditions. Malnutrition rates are now above emergency thresholds with districts such as Marsabit facing 4.1% severe acute malnutrition and 22% global acute malnutrition. In addition, about 1.1 million boys and girls plus 8,000 teachers are affected by drought annually with varying severity (Kenya Food Security Steering Group 2010). Associated with declining food security is the surging inflation and soaring food and fuel price shocks that have sparked protests in the country. Food prices have risen by at least 25% between January and April this year.
The urban population is highly market-dependent and therefore extremely vulnerable to price shocks. (According to the World Bank estimates, 44 million more people in developing countries have fallen into poverty since June 2010 due to increasing food prices.) Maize prices in Kenya rose by 73% between June 2010 and January 2011.
Refugee numbers continue to rise as persistent conflict in Somalia triggers cross-border influxes. By the end of May 2011, 53,641 new refugees and asylum seekers had been registered country-wide compared to 27,651 during the same period in 2010. As of 31 May, there were 479,919 refugees in the country. Most of the refugee arrivals are in poor health: the global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate among arrivals is 15%, two times higher than the 7.8% rate among the existing refugee population in camps. The increasing refugee population adds to the already congested camps while at the same time outstripping the already dwindling resources shared with the host communities. As the suspension of the establishment of required infrastructure in the new extension of Ifo II refugee camp continues, refugees are still languishing in the currently over-crowded camps.
Access constraints in cross-border regions due to resource-based conflicts as well as spill-over conflict from neighbouring countries such as Somalia have combined to hamper effective delivery of humanitarian aid to displaced populations. Insecurity incidents have been reported in the north-east and north-west of the country leading to substantial temporary displacements of up to 2,000 people coupled with increased humanitarian needs.
The political environment remains fragile with the potential for inter-communal violence and population displacement triggered by (1) political reform processes; (2) the International Criminal Court investigation linked to the 2007-2008 post-election violence; (3) hearings of past historical injustices through the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC); and (4) preparatory stages leading to the general elections scheduled for August 2012. Reform processes particularly on the implementation of the new constitution and passing of associated relevant electoral laws to assist in the implementation remain in progress. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) bill, passed by Parliament on 31 May, is critical to the election process as the Constitution provides for an additional 80 constituencies which the IEBC is expected to delineate.
In line with the 2011-2013 humanitarian strategy, the focus remains on assisting households to recover fully from recurrent shocks and hazards through, for example, offering immediate and medium-term food and non-food interventions that seek to mitigate urgent needs while concurrently restoring livelihoods and building their resilience.
The rapid deterioration of the food security situation and associated humanitarian consequences underlines the gravity of the situation that requires immediate funding support to respond to the crisis. In this regard, the revised requirements for the projects in the Mid-Year Review of the 2011+ Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan (EHRP) are $604,845,876.