What you need to know:
- As a result, 40 to 80 percent of the livestock in pastoral counties have migrated to neighbouring areas, with some crossing borders to nations including Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
The ongoing drought has killed more than 1.9 million livestock across the country, bringing devastation to families that depend on them entirely for survival.
A short rains assessment report shows that the arid counties of Samburu, Marsabit and Turkana counties have collectively lost 1,486,303 animals.
The report puts the number of livestock deaths in Kajiado, Laikipia and Nyeri counties at 475,363, bringing the total to 1,961,666 since October 2022.
"From the beginning of October 2022, livestock mortalities were reported across the pastoral and marginal mixed farming zones," the report says. "Livestock mortality was driven by starvation, dehydration and disease as a result of the ongoing drought."
The report further stated that livestock productivity was on a decline due to below average forage and water levels.
As a result, 40 to 80 percent of the livestock in pastoral counties have migrated to neighbouring areas, with some crossing borders to nations including Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
According to the report, the declining livestock productivity is accelerating a decline in milk production, which is 50 to 70 percent below average across the pastoral areas. This except for the pastoral northwest, where it is negligible, compared to an average of 2-5 litres per household per day.
"In marginal agricultural areas, milk production is 15 to 40 percent below the average," read the report.
The report further stated that 970,000 children aged six to nine months and 142,000 pregnant women are currently malnourished.
The situation is likely to worsen further in the next three months as the drought persists, with Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties likely to slide into the emergency phase, the report says.
"The deteriorating nutrition situation is mainly attributed to worsening food insecurity, characterised by low milk availability, increasing food prices, unfavourable terms of trade and insufficient water.”
Other contributing factors, according to the report, include poor feeding practices for children, a high disease burden and sub-optimal coverage of multi sectoral interventions.
The population in the crisis phase could rise to about 5.4 million in arid counties alone by June, depending on the outcome of the March to May long rains season.