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Food scarcity, as rains expected in October

Monday July 17, 2017

Unicef goodwill ambassador Kevin Umbima, a musician popularly known as Kaka Sungura, pumps water from one on the boreholes in Nakodet, Turkana county, on July 12 during the screening and treatment of children suffering from malnutrition /JACK OWUOR

The food situation in Kenya could get worse in the coming three months, says an early warning bulletin.

The National Drought Management Authority early warning bulletin released this month showed a worrying trend on food security.

It stated it is unlikely there will be further rains before October, except in some parts of the North Rift.

“Livelihoods in most arid and semi-arid counties are already under significant stress, which will deepen as the dry season unfolds. A number of indicators, such as the state of water sources, distances to water, livestock body condition, and milk production and consumption are already outside their normal ranges in many counties and will only deteriorate from here onwards,” the bulletin states.

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A further consideration this year, the authority warned, is the impact of the election and the risk of critical services being disrupted during the transition.

If this happens, it may worsen outcomes for vulnerable homes, it states.

“The most challenging scenario will be if the onset of the short rains is late, as happened in 2016. Conditions will inevitably deteriorate and drought interventions must be scaled up in response.

“A key mechanism to facilitate this will be the National Drought Emergency Fund, which should be operationalised as a matter of urgency. It will be critical to monitor the onset of the short rains season, since any delay will have major consequences for food security,” the bulletin states.

It recommends sustaining food or cash transfers to 3.5 million people.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation issued an alert on Friday over worsening hunger in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia.

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