Climate Fact Check: Drought in Kenya caused by climate change, is not food management issue

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Droughts have increased in frequency and magnitude. Farming seasons are no longer predictable. Angry lakes are swelling and the cost of living is rising bizarrely fast. 

Photo credit: FILE

On November 3, 2022 at 11.44pm, a twitter user by the name Osama_otero posted that “Drought in Kenya is not a climate change issue. It is a food management issue.”

His tweet, which garnered 29 retweets, two quote tweets and 118 likes, is, however, false, as Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry confirms that the changing rainfall seasons and drought are because of changing climate.

In Kenya’s National Climate Change Response Strategy 2022, the Environment ministry states that Kenyans are feeling impacts of climate change, ranging from higher temperatures, unpredictable rainfall patterns, increased incidences of droughts and floods, and rising sea levels. 

These events, notes the ministry, have contributed to loss of lives, diminished livelihoods, reduced crop and livestock production and damaged infrastructure.

“Kenya’s climate is changing. The country has experienced a general warming trend since 1960, and the trend of rising temperatures is expected to continue. Rainfall patterns have changed, with the long rainy season becoming shorter and dryer and the short rainy season longer and wetter,” states the Environment Ministry.

“Overall annual rainfall remains low, the long rains have been continuously declining in recent decades, and the proportion of rainfall that occurs from heavy events is expected to increase.”

“The frequency of rainfall events causing floods has increased in East Africa from an average of less than three events per year in the 1980s to over seven events per year in the 1990s and 10 events per year from 2000 to 2006.

“Droughts have intensified in terms of frequency, severity, and coverage over the past few decades. Sea level rise along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast, caused by increased melting of land-based ice such as glaciers and ice sheets and thermal expansion, caused by warming of the ocean, is projected to be greater than the global average of 26 to 82 cm by the 2080s,” it adds.


This year, people living in the horn of Africa-Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, have faced starvation due to drought, which was contributed to by the worst failed rains in 70 years.

A report, How climate change is driving extreme weather in the developing world, also states that Kenya is projected to experience increases in heavy precipitation and increase in the number of extreme wet days by the mid-21st century. These increases are likely to translate into rising flood and drought risks.

“Net economic costs of climate change could be equivalent to a loss of almost three per cent of GDP each year by 2030 in Kenya. Costs include potential threats to coastal zones (sea-level rise), health burdens, energy demand, infrastructure, water resources, agriculture and loss of ecosystem services. While the costs of adaptation are only emerging, an initial estimate of immediate needs for addressing current climate as well as preparing for future climate change for Kenya is 500 million dollars a year,” says the report.

According to the National Drought and Management Authority, drought has continued to deteriorate in 21 of the 23 ASAL counties, because of four failed consecutive seasons, late onset and poorly distributed 2022 short rains season, which  is attributed to climate change.

- This fact check was produced by Daily Nation with support from Code for Africa’s Pesa Check, International Fact Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance Network.