The 2015 Short Rains Assessment has established that an estimated 1.6 million people are acutely food insecure and will require immediate food assistance over the next six months (March – August 2015).
The Assessment was conducted from 26th January 2015 to 6th February 2015 in 23 Arid and Semi-arid (ASAL) counties that are vulnerable to drought hazard.
This is a 7% increase from the August 2014 food insecure population. While the short rains were generally below average across most of the arid and semi-arid (ASAL) counties, cumulative amounts varied. As a result, food security improved in some areas while also worsening in others. The counties of Turkana, Samburu, Mandera, West Pokot and Baringo recorded substantial improvements in food security conditions, with the food insecure population reducing. These areas were characterized by extension of the 2014 long rains that continued through September, beyond their normal cessation in June.
Marsabit, Wajir, Isiolo and Garissa on the other hand experienced increased food insecure cases. The below average 2014 short rains resulted in below normal recovery of rangeland resources in the pastoral areas and agro pastoral areas, thereby affecting livestock productivity, household income and consequently households food consumption. Most water points in the pastoral areas are depleted and livestock return trekking distances have increased 20 – 50 percent compared to the normal, and are expected to increase further as the short lean season progresses.
The above average land surface temperatures that have prevailed from January have exacerbated the rate of depletion of rangeland resources. Seasonal livestock migration occurred earlier than normal, while in some instances, livestock remained in the dry season grazing areas, further depriving households the much needed livestock products. Though livestock prices seasonally declined between December and January 2015. Terms of trade were still favorable across most of the pastoral markets. In the southeastern marginal agricultural areas, most of the maize crop did not reach maturity, wilting at the tussling stage, due to moisture stress. Short rains crop harvest is expected to be up to 70 percent below the long term averages. Most households are therefore expected to have higher than normal dependence on the markets for food access.
The current areas of concern include parts of Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo and Garissa, where localised households have moved into Crisis phase (IPC Phase 3). Being short lean season, food security conditions are expected to improve in less than two-month time, upon resumption of the 2015 long rains in mid-March.