Kenya: About 2.4 million people could be food insecure by April 2017

Published: 27 January 2017 14:25 CET

By The Kenya Red Cross Society


Friday, 27 January 2017, Nairobi: The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has urgently appealed to all Kenyans, partners and stakeholders to help tackle the ongoing drought crisis in Kenya, which has left 12 counties at an alarm stage and 11 counties at an alert stage.


The situation is likely to deteriorate, rendering 2.4 million people food insecure by April 2017, if no urgent and appropriate action is taken.


KRCS has issued a revised drought appeal to reach up to 340,786 people, in 13 counties, at an amount of 1 billion Kenya shillings (about 9 million US dollars).


“The effects of the drought are escalating. In December 2016, we had eight counties at the alarm stage and in less than a month since then, the number of counties has risen to 12. This should worry us all,” said Dr Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, Kenya Red Cross Society.


The assistance requested will focus on interventions in five key areas. The funds will be used to treat malnourished children, pregnant women and lactating mothers in ten counties. A total of 340,786 will be targeted by this exercise.


There will also be direct cash transfers to 17,500 food insecure families, and where markets are functional. Food vouchers will be given to 7,500.


In addition, there are plans to rehabilitate key communal watering points, in 51 communities, where increased water pumping is causing breakdowns.


Finally, there are plans to conduct animal offtake and slaughter. This exercise is targeting weak animals, which likely to die due to drought, making meat available to families and cushion farmers from massive losses.


The late onset and inadequate short rains—between October and December 2016—has led to poor pasture and inadequate water resources in pastoral areas, which has further resulted in unseasonal migration in areas like Narok, Kwale and Taita Taveta and Tana River counties.


Coastal counties that have in the past served as pasture reserve areas, have been severely affected, straining the situation further.


Livestock body conditions and milk productivity have continued to deteriorate in parts of Marsabit, Garissa, Isiolo, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Taita Taveta and Tana River counties. Drought related livestock deaths are on the rise, negatively impacting on livestock farmers’ income and access to animal products.


“We have been working with the Red Cross Movement partners, national and county governments, the corporate sector and local partners to mitigate the situation. However, more support is needed, hence, our decision to appeal to Kenyans for support,” added Dr Gullet.


The funds raised will be distributed to the worst-affected families and communities, through a Cash Transfers Programme (CTP) that empowers them financially to meet their immediate food, non-food, and income needs.


KRCS has been transferring cash on a monthly basis to families in Marsabit, Kilifi and Tana River counties. So far, 4,200 families have received cash transfers. Cash transfers offer families the flexibility and choice to purchase their preferred foodstuff from local traders and therefore supports local markets and recovery of livelihoods.


KRCS is also carrying out a livestock destocking programme in pastoralist areas in order to cushion livestock farmers from massive livestock losses. So far, 882 goats and sheep and 651 heads of cattle have been purchased, inspected, slaughtered and distributed to vulnerable families in Tana River and Garissa (Ijara) counties.


KRCS has also distributed a total of 280 metric tons of assorted food to 15,954 people in Samburu, Lamu, Kwale and Kilifi counties.


For further information, please contact:

Anthony Mwangi, Head, Corporate Affairs, Kenya Red Cross Society

Mobile: +254-739-579-176, Email:


Noellah Musundi, Public Relations & Communications Manager, Kenya Red Cross Society

Mobile: +254-720-359-696, Email: