Food insecurity in the ASAL counties at a macro level is currently at one of the lowest levels in the last 15 years, with 739,000 in IPC 3 and 4, according to the latest Long Rains Assessment (LRA) report. This is attributed to the cumulative good performance of the 2019 short rains and 2020 long rains. ASAL counties are generally IPC phase 2 and this is projected to remain stable until October 2020. However, levels of acute malnutrition remain unacceptably high across the ASAL counties, indicative of the multiple and complex underlying causes beyond food security.
Approximately 1.7 million people are projected to be affected in the urban informal settlements because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In urban areas, the most significant shocks usually faced affecting food security are an increase in food prices and a decrease in income or the loss of a job. Female-headed households, who constitute 30.2 per cent of the poor population, are at particularly high risk.
Government and partners have identified 725,000 urban poor in COVID-19 hotspots, including Nairobi, Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa and Nakuru to be targeted through government response.
Workers in the informal economy may not be able to stay at home when they are sick without paid sick leave. People living in or near poverty often lack disposable cash and cannot easily stockpile food in times of pandemics. Hunger, malnutrition, pneumonia and other forms of health-related shocks and stresses compound vulnerability to the COVID19 pandemic. In a context where up to 84 per cent of all jobs are in the informal sector (which excludes small-scale farming and pastoralist activities) and the urban poor spend an estimated 50 per cent of daily income on food, the slowdown in economic activity due to movement restrictions has affected their ability to buy their minimum food and non-food needs (KNBS, 2019; KFSSG, 2010).
A few small maturing swarms of desert locusts persist in Samburu county, and local breeding could eventually occur in the north-west with the short rains. There is a low risk that a few swarms currently in Ethiopia may arrive in the north-east about mid-November while the next generation of swarms that form in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia are likely to arrive from mid-December onwards.
At least 56,000 households out of the targeted 70,500 households in the informal settlements in Nairobi have been supported with cash transfers to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. WFP plans to reach the planned 70,500 by the end of October. Each household is entitled to a month cash transfer valued at 4,000 Kenyan Shillings (about US$37) over a four-month period.
Complementing the Ministry of Health’s efforts to reduce acute malnutrition, WFP will continue to provide vital nutrition support to treat malnutrition among 16,000 children under age 5, 700 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and 6,800 elderly people in informal urban settlements.
Engagement with the national government and the county government of Mombasa in preparation for the roll-out of COVID-19 response in Mombasa is ongoing. The roll-out plan has been finalized and adopted by the County Government of Mombasa. About 24,000 households started to receive cash transfers in the last week of September 2020.
WFP in close coordination with humanitarian partners and the Government to ensure this assistance reaches the children, women, men and elderly who need it the most as quickly as possible.
Funds are insufficient to sustain the monthly provision of a full food ration to refugees in camps. Refugees currently will receive 60 per cent of the recommended minimum of 2,100 Kcal dietary food basket in October/November 2020 food distribution cycle.