Revision of the Kenya Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan 2008
Widespread violence, triggered by the announcement on 30 December 2007 that incumbent Mwai Kibaki had narrowly won a contested presidential election against Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, caused a growing humanitarian crisis. Following claims from national and international observers that the vote had been seriously flawed, rioting and looting broke out in cities and towns, particularly in the west of the country and in and around Nairobi. Not least because of Kenya’s role as a regional economic, commercial, political, developmental and humanitarian hub supporting Somalia, Uganda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, the situation sparked a number of regional and international responses and mediation efforts, including one coordinated by the African Union and led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
An estimated 500,000 people have been displaced or otherwise affected by the crisis, including some 250,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) who found shelter in camps and other sites. Over 12,000 Kenyans are refugees in Uganda, and steep increases of up to 50% in the price of commercial commodities in surrounding countries have been reported. The ethnic dimension to the post-elections violence initially characterised this emergency as a serious protection crisis, albeit with a direct link to an underlying political one. The evolution of the political crisis continues to have direct and serious humanitarian implications, and is envisaged to do so for months to come. The signing of a power-sharing deal on 28 February between the two opposing parties has only just been translated into a legal agreement, and how the agreement will be implemented is a source of anxiety for the population at large, and the displaced in particular. Given the close links between the political events, the violence, and the humanitarian situation, the agreement’s implementation could potentially trigger further conflict, and will influence the durable solutions available to IDPs.
In addition to the political crisis, there are increasing indications that the country is facing the early stages of another drought. Projected rain shortages in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) will compound food insecurity stemming from the production shortfalls caused by the post-elections violence, and the consequent loss of the March planting season in the country’s grain-basket areas. In western Kenya, humanitarian actors have begun trucking water in several districts, and preparedness activities are urgently needed to preserve fragile livelihoods amongst communities in most parts of Kenya. What has evolved is a geographic spread of humanitarian needs that encompasses most of the country, either from post-elections violence or drought or the consequences of these crises
In January 2007, the United Nations system and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in close coordination with the Government of Kenya and in liaison with the Kenya Red Cross Society, launched an Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan (EHRP). The appeal requested $41.9 million for urgent life-saving humanitarian activities. With the generous support of donors, the appeal received $31.2 million or 74% of the originally stated requirements as of now. The humanitarian response has been effective in delivering life-saving assistance to IDPs and other affected populations where they were registered and accessible. Less effective has been the response to those displaced who sought refuge with host families and other communities. Since early February however, district and provincial officials have been registering IDPs living outside the camps and the Government has dispatched cereals for distribution through the local authorities. While the humanitarian response within the camps has been reasonably well covered, much still needs to be done to meet internationally accepted standards for camp conditions.
As an increasingly comprehensive, albeit still incomplete, assessment of needs has become available, humanitarian partners have revised their response strategies in line with the evolving political situation. This, added to the emerging humanitarian needs due to poor expected rainfall, has necessitated a revision of the EHRP. Aid agencies have prioritised those projects and activities that would complement national strategies and responses, as well as those that most closely meet the articulated needs of affected populations and communities. In recognition of the fluid situation, flexibility has been built into the response plans and supporting projects. This appeal now includes projects from 13 UN organisations and 37 international and national NGOs, and aims to complement funding requests from the Government of Kenya and from the Kenya Red Cross Society. The revised appeal seeks a total of $189 million for actions within a planning horizon through to the end of 2008. Taking into consideration funding to date, unmet requirements amount to $150 million.
In this revision and expansion, by far the largest increase is in the Food sector (by $74 million), because distributions are now budgeted through 2008, expanding drought-related needs are added, and the caseload from the post-elections crisis is now estimated to be larger. The relatively large increase for Early Recovery and Food Security (see table on page 9) reflects the programmatic shift to returns and resettlement, which is hoped to begin in earnest in 2008, and accompanying restoration of livelihoods and farming. Of the large increase for shelter and non-food items, about half is for maintenance of IDPs on the likelihood that many will remain displaced for much of 2008, and the other half for return and resettlement. Other clusters had modest increases in funding requirements, in line with the extension of activities through 2008. Funding requirements per capita for this revised and expanded appeal come to $136 for twelve months of humanitarian support (counting 500,000 beneficiaries from the post-elections crisis plus 840,000 beneficiaries of drought-related food aid).