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Delayed onset of long rains exacerbating Crisis outcomes

  • Key Message Update
  • Kenya
  • March 2017
Delayed onset of long rains exacerbating Crisis outcomes

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • As forecasted, the March – May long rains have had a delayed onset across all areas of the country, which has exacerbated dry conditions across pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, further negatively impacting livestock productivity, as well as delaying land preparation and planting. Due to this deterioration, it is likely additional poor households are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in pastoral areas as well as in parts of the coastal marginal mixed farming zone. 

    • While the rains are expected to be fully established in April, the total cumulative amounts are likely to be below average, but will still likely mitigate water and forage deficits. Since households have maintained their livestock far from homesteads, and livestock body conditions are currently poor, livestock productivity is likely to remain below normal, limiting milk production and consumption. As a result, due to low incomes, with very few livestock for sale, and growing food gaps, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected across Turkana, Marsabit, Garissa, Samburu, Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir, Tana River, Baringo, Laikipia, and West Pokot. There is also the possibility that some of the worst affected poor households in northern parts of Marsabit and Turkana could face Emergency (IPC Phase 4). 

    • In the southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas, the availability of farm-related wage labor is atypically low. Many households lack seeds from the previous season’s harvest and are waiting for subsidized seed distributions from the Government of Kenya, which is likely to mean the total planted area will be lower. In some coastal areas, this would mark a fourth consecutive poor season. As a result, since many households experienced total crop failure, they have been relying on markets for food access, until short-cycle crops in May and June provide some household stocks and income, but their purchasing power remains constrained due to limited income-earning opportunities. Even with the July harvest, FEWS NET expects more poor households in coastal areas, and localized households in the southeast, to likely experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes between June and September. 

    • Increased humanitarian interventions by the Government of Kenya, at both the national and county-level, as well as by other development partners, across various parts of the pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, are likely mitigating the severity of acute food insecurity outcomes. However, the uncoordinated response efforts to date, in some areas, and lack of clarity on numbers of planned beneficiaries and coverage areas, makes it difficult to assess the impacts of the humanitarian assistance and future plans. FEWS NET projects that without adequate and sustained humanitarian assistance, more poor households could face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes between the dry period of July and September, particularly in Marsabit and Turkana. 

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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