The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) predicts an improvement in the drought situation, with the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance expected to decrease to 1.5 million by January next year. This positive outlook is attributed to the anticipated El Niño rains starting in October, which are anticipated to ameliorate the current food scarcity and water availability issues.
At present, there are 2.8 million individuals in need of humanitarian support, down from the peak of 4.4 million in February when the drought crisis was at its zenith. The authority’s monthly report highlights substantial improvement in the food situation in the 23 arid and semi-arid counties, primarily due to the rains between March and May.
NDMA anticipates a significant enhancement in food security as the October to December rainfall period sets in. According to the report, “The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance during October 2023 to January 2024 period is expected to reduce to approximately 1.5 million.”
Nonetheless, despite the March-April-May rains, some counties still grapple with the lingering effects of the drought, with pregnant women and minors bearing the brunt. Acute malnutrition analysis conducted in July revealed improvements in most arid counties, although malnutrition levels have remained relatively high due to the cumulative impacts of the prolonged drought.
During the peak of the drought, human-wildlife conflicts were widespread across various counties, with the Kenya Wildlife Service unable to provide compensation to those affected. In areas neighboring Tsavo National Park and Shimba Hills National Reserve, elephants damaged crops, impeded farmers’ access to their fields, and monopolized water sources, affecting households and livestock. Additionally, they posed safety risks to schoolchildren.
The report further details instances of stray elephants destroying crops, including sorghum in Tigania West, Meru County, and significant farmland losses in Kitui and Kibwezi. In Kitui County, hyenas and leopards were responsible for losses of approximately 54 sheep and goats in various sub-counties.