The short rains season has now ended, but it was far too brief and weak to have any meaningful impact on recovery. No county reported normal rainfall in December. Consequently, there is now a significant vegetation deficit across the ASALs.
In livestock areas, the water and forage situation is far from normal. This is undermining production and disrupting the regular pattern of seasonal migration. Terms of trade are falling, while the risk of conflict is increasing. In agricultural areas, widespread crop failure is predicted.
Without urgent and appropriate action, Kenya could see a repeat of the drought situation in 2011. The national and county governments and their partners should significantly scale up both livelihood support and relief activities that reinforce the coping strategies of affected populations.
For details on drought status in arid and semi-arid counties, click the link below:
Detailed reports of the drought situation in each of the 23 arid and semi-arid counties are available in the county-specific Drought Early Warning Bulletins.
The drought early warning system managed by National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) assesses severity of drought and its impact through use of a combination of remote-sensed data (Vegetation Condition Index) and social economic data to determine the drought phase/status. VCI communicates the state/condition of vegetation cover, comparing it with the range of values observed in the same period in previous years. It does not measure the biomass of pasture but is a relative measurement that compares the greenness recorded in a specific area (in this case a sub-county) for a particular month with the historical greenness for the same month and geographical area to highlight any anomaly from a normal situation.
The VCI as at December 26, 2016 indicates that vegetation deficit extends across the majority of arid and semi-arid counties as a result of inadequate rains received during the October-November-December short rains. The poor performance of the short rains also extended the normal dry season that usually runs from August to October in most ASAL counties.
For detailed analysis of county specific vegetation condition, see the Vegetation Condition Index (3-month VCI) as at 26th December 2016
For more information on ongoing drought preparedness and response activities see the December 2016 issue of the NDMA Drought Resilience Newsletter.