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Publication | 2022

Kenya: Acute Food Insecurity Situation for February 2022 and Projection for March - June 2022

Acute Food Insecurity Overview

Following a significant deterioration from the previous analysis, an estimated 3.1 million people (20% of the population in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands or ASALs) were classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or above acute food insecurity in February 2022. Compared to the same period in 2021, there was an increase from 1.4 million to 3.1 million people classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and IPC Phase 4 (Emergency). The deterioration of food insecurity is attributed to multiple shocks, including dry spells from three consecutive poor seasonal rainfall performances (all below the five-year average), below-average crop and livestock production, localised resource-based conflict, and the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in increasing staple food prices across the country. The following seven counties were the most affected, representing more than 50% of the total population classified in IPC Phase 3 or above: Marsabit (50%), Turkana (40%), Baringo (35%), Wajir (35%), Mandera (35%), Samburu (35%) and Isiolo (30%). These areas are predominantly pastoral livelihoods.

In the projection period (March to June 2022), the population in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or above is expected to increase from 3.1 million to about 3.5 million people (23% of the population in the ASALs), while the population in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is likely to increase from 525,000 to 758,000 people. Out of 23 ASAL counties, nine are projected to host 63% of the total population in IPC Phase 3 or above. Mandera, Marsabit and Turkana counties have the highest levels of population in Emergency. Notably, the food security situation of Marsabit County is expected to deteriorate from IPC Phase 3 to 4, while Narok County is expected to shift from IPC Phase 1 (Minimal Acute Food Insecurity) to IPC Phase 2 (Stressed). The rest of the counties will experience an increase in the number of people in high acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) but maintain similar IPC phase classification as in the current period of analysis. Although seasonal agro-pastoral productions are expected to be above average, the impact of three consecutive below-average rainfall seasons on livelihoods and coping capacity will likely curtail favourable climatic patterns and reduce improvement prospects. In conclusion, recovery of livelihoods is expected to be delayed and benefits of the good season will only appear from July onwards.

Acute Malnutrition Overview

Though all areas have remained classified in the same phase, the Acute Malnutrition (AMN) situation has deteriorated compared to the August 2021 analysis, with several areas in a Critical situation (IPC AMN Phase 4): Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Samburu, Turkana, North Horr and Laisamis sub-counties in Marsabit and Tiaty Sub County in Baringo. This is attributed to worsening food insecurity, high morbidity and poor sanitation and hygiene practices. The number of children under the age of five requiring treatment for acute malnutrition has risen by 16% from 653,000 to 755,000 compared to the August 2021 analysis, while acute malnutrition in pregnant and lactating women increased by 7%. The situation is expected to further deteriorate during the projection period of March to May 2022, with eight counties classified in a Critical situation (IPC AMN Phase 4): Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Samburu, Turkana, Isiolo, Marsabit (exception of North Horr & Laisamis sub-counties) and Baringo County.