Children in Emergencies


2017 Drought in Kenya

© UNICEFKenya/2016/Noorani
Zam Zam Mohammad, 2 years 6 months old, receives treatment for severe acute malnutrition at Nutrition Ward at Garissa Country Referral Hospital in northern Kenya.

Below average performance of the 2016 short and long rains has led to a severe drought in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) of Kenya. As a consequence the food insecure population in Kenya has more than doubled over a six-month period. 

It is estimated that 2.7 million people in Kenya are now in need of relief assistance, from 1.3 million in August 2016 . This includes 300,000 people in non-Arid and Semi-Arid (non-ASAL) counties affected by crop failures and decline of yields. Most vulnerable are children under 5 years, mothers, the elderly and the sick.

The worst-affected counties are Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir and Baringo.

The government of Kenya has signed a cabinet memo in November 2016 to allocate Ksh 210 million for the drought response, but these funds have still to be put to full use. The President of Kenya has declared the ongoing drought a national disaster on February 10, 2017, with a call for international support.



Kenya Flash Appeal

On 16 March 2017, UN agencies and partners issued a Flash Appeal for US$165.7 million in response to the Government of Kenya's declaration of the drought as a national disaster and appeal for international assistance.

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NEWSNOTE: More than 1 million children affected by drought in Kenya - UNICEF

NAIROBI, Kenya, 2 March 2017 – The onset of a severe drought in 2016 has hit arid and semi-arid regions in Kenya, affecting over 2.7 million people. UNICEF is supporting the Government of Kenya in initiating and implementing emergency response efforts by delivering life-saving assistance to affected households.

[Web link]





Situation in Numbers

2.7 million People are food insecure

2.6 million People are in need of WASH assistance

1.1 million Children are food insecure

109,464 Children under 5 in need of SAM treatment

174,000 Children in pre-primary and primary school are not attending school due to the drought


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