Children in Emergencies


Children in Emergencies

© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1032/Holt
A severely malnourished baby lies in the paediatric unit at the District Hospital in Lodwar, Turkana region, in northern Kenya.

Kenya continues to face high levels of vulnerability to shocks including drought, floods, internal and cross border civil strife, especially amongst marginalized communities all of which has a devastating effect on levels of both acute and chronic malnutrition.

Food Insecurity

Due to below-average rains, constrained food access and high food prices, over 1.5 million people, mainly concentrated in the northern pastoral areas and the marginal agricultural areas of the country currently require food assistance. 


Child malnutrition rates are high, with an acute malnutrition rate of above 20% for pastoral children in Northern Kenya and close to 310,000 children requiring treatment for acute malnutrition. 

Access to safe water is lowest mainly in the arid and semi-arid lands where food insecurity and malnutrition are rampant, predisposing households to water-borne diseases.  For example, household water treatment is less than 10% in Wajir (9.2%) and West Pokot (6.7%) . 

Community Vulnerabilities

Repeated episodes of inter-communal violence and flooding are disrupting schooling for displaced children and access to routine immunization, maternal/neonatal care and nutritional services, leading to further vulnerabilities.

Ebola Threat

Kenya remains susceptible to the current Ebola outbreak due to its position as a transit hub, border porosity, poor public information and a weak health system.

Refugee Influx

Refugee influx into Kakuma Refugee Camp continues due to insecurity in South Sudan.  By October 2014, there were 43,940 newly arrived South Sudanese refugees, 29,743 of whom are children . 

Of these, one in four children under five are acutely malnourished and 7,298 are unaccompanied or separated, making them especially vulnerable to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and unlikely to access schooling.  

UNICEF and partners are planning for an additional 30,000 new refugees from South Sudan in 2015.



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