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Highlights Last Updated: 20 Oct 2020

  • Following intense rainfall, multiple lakes and waterways in Kenya are at record-high levels, causing displacement and loss of livelihoods for surrounding communities.
  • The desert locust situation has improved and only residual swarms are being reported in Samburu County. However, further swarms are expected in November.
  • Acute malnutrition remain high across the Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) counties. Access to treatment has been challenging for many families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The number of positive COVID-19 cases has increased since the beginning of October, following an increase on laboratory testing capacity across the country.
  • Phased return to school has started, with the first groups resuming classes on 12 October.
Stacey, 17, revises her Form 4 lessons from a single textbook in the alleyway outside the one-room home she shares with her mother and sister. © UNICEF/Alissa Everett


Country profile

The COVID-19 pandemic—which is occurring against a backdrop of increased humanitarian needs due to back-to-back drought, floods and a locust upsurge—will exacerbate existing vulnerabilities across Kenya, particularly for the urban poor, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Some 56 per cent of Kenya’s urban population live in informal settlements. There are about 19.5 million poor people in Kenya (14 million in rural areas, 1.3 million peri-urban and 4.2 million core-urban and informal settlements). Female-headed households constitute 30.2 per cent of the poor population. Hunger, malnutrition, pneumonia and other forms of health-related shocks and stresses compound vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kenya hosts an estimated 488,867 refugees and asylum seekers; 44 per cent of whom (217,139 people) are in Dadaab, 40 per cent (193,429) in Kakuma and Kalobeyei Settlement, and 16 per cent (78,299) in urban areas, according to UNHCR.

[April 2020]