Persistent drought continues to drive humanitarian needs in Kenya. In 2017, all 23 arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) counties were affected by a severe drought. Some 2.6 million people were estimated to be facing severe food insecurity of whom 500,000 were already in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) at the end of the year. Malnutrition rates propelled to double the emergency threshold (30 per cent Global Acute Malnutrition) in some counties and 370,000 children required treatment for acute malnutrition in the drought-affected ASAL areas as of the end of 2017.
Lack of pasture, crop failure and loss of livestock caused pastoralists to migrate abnormally long distances in 2017. Low food commodity volumes and high food prices continued to hamper access to food in late 2017. Kenya has a structural maize deficit, and maize imports and prices are expected to remain above five-year averages through May 2018 as the Government of Kenya’s maize subsidy program stopped at the end of October. The humanitarian situation in Kenya has further been compounded by an outbreak of fall armyworm, affecting 40 out of 47 counties in Kenya. This has resulted in crop yield losses, particularly maize and wheat, in major producing counties.
Despite these challenges, the number of severe food insecure people is projected to decline across all pastoral areas in the first half of 2018, although some of the most vulnerable households are still likely to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Displacement in Kenya is also expected to decline in the coming six months due to the improved food security outlook in key areas. Kenya experiences regular disease epidemics, and currently faces both cholera and chikungunya outbreaks. The cholera outbreak is still active in 5 counties: Garissa, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Busia, and Tana River counties. As of 16 February 2018, 453 suspected cases of Chikungunya were reported in Changamwe, Jomvu, Kilifi, Kisauni, Likoni, Mvita and Nyali.
Kenya is hosting over 489,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. The majority of refugees and asylum seekers originate from Somalia (58.4 per cent). Other major nationalities include South Sudanese (22.7 per cent), Congolese (7 per cent), and Ethiopians (5.6 per cent). Half of the refugees reside in the Dadaab / Alinjugur area, 37 per cent in Kakuma and 13 per cent in urban areas (mainly Nairobi).