A woman in Kenya’s Isiolo Region leads her camels to water at a well rehabilitated and improved with USAID/OFDA support.
A woman in Kenya’s Isiolo Region leads her camels to water at a well rehabilitated and improved with USAID/OFDA support.
Laura Meissner/USAID

Latest Horn of Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is responding to the complex emergency in the Horn of Africa region, including in EthiopiaKenya, and Somalia.

Although the Horn of Africa region remains predominantly dry, early-May rainfall replenished some water sources, particularly in parts of Ethiopia and Kenya. Localized areas of Kenya and Somalia have also experienced flash flooding, which has prevented late-season re-planting for Somalia’s primary agricultural season and displaced nearly 25,000 people across 13 counties of Kenya.

Heavy rainfall in parts of northern, southeastern, and western Kenya has caused flash floods and significant displacement in recent weeks, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS). Cumulatively, the floods have resulted in approximately 20 deaths and displaced more than 24,800 people across 13 counties. In response to the recent floods, the Government of Kenya (GoK) and county-level authorities have provided more than 2,800 bags of maize, as well as mosquito nets and water treatment supplies to reduce the risk of a cholera outbreak, to flood-affected families. In addition, KRCS is disseminating early warning messages in communities at high risk of flooding, supporting search-and-rescue efforts and rapid needs assessments in flood-affected areas, and distributing emergency shelter and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) supplies to affected households. USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance recently provided KRCS with $500,000 in FY 2017 assistance to deliver critical WASH assistance to more than 58,000 drought-affected people in Kilifi, Kwale, Marsabit, and Turkana counties.

In addition to localized flash flooding, the UN reports that late-onset March-to-May long rains have negatively affected agricultural livelihoods in central, northwestern, and southeastern Kenya. Furthermore, the ongoing fall armyworm infestation—an invasive pest native to Latin America that causes damage to maize and other staple crops—has affected more than 353,600 acres of vegetation in 23 of Kenya’s 47 counties, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Although the infestation does not constitute a humanitarian crisis alone, crop losses associated with fall armyworm could compound existing, drought-induced humanitarian needs in Kenya. The GoK has outlined a response plan to eradicate the infestation, prioritizing the procurement of pesticides and mass outreach campaigns to educate farmers on pest detection and control methods.

As of late May, donors had committed approximately $60 million—or 36 percent—toward the $166 million requested in the UN Flash Appeal for Kenya, including $19 million toward the nutrition sector. Following the release of the long rains assessment in July, UN and GoK plan to revise the flash appeal.

Please visit our Horn of Africa web page for additional information.


Although cyclical drought has affected Kenya for years, droughts are becoming increasingly frequent. Following unfavorable rainfall in late 2010 and early 2011, severe drought conditions resulted in sharply deteriorating food security conditions among pastoralists in northern Kenya and populations in rain-dependent marginal agricultural areas. Affected populations experienced loss of livelihoods, lack of food and agricultural resources, and limited access to safe drinking water.

Vulnerable populations across Kenya continue to confront several other challenges—including seasonal flooding, localized inter-communal conflict, above-average food prices, disease outbreaks, and limited access to health and WASH services—that contribute to sustained humanitarian needs in Kenya.

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Last updated: May 25, 2017

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