Kenyans can celebrate the news about inflation falling to a significant level but a good number are at risk of starvation.
Inflation in the month of August fell to 5 percent from 6.27 percent in the month of July due to a fall in food prices, as the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics has revealed.
KNBS reported that the prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks dropped by 1.89 percent in August leaving inflation to drop on a monthly basis by -0.90 percent in August from -0.36 percent in July.
But even with the rate of inflation dropping, a good number of Kenyans are at risk of facing starvation due to food insecurity in some parts of the country.
It is estimated that more than 2.5 million Kenyans are living in drought-affected areas and are at a very high risk of starving if the country does not take quick action.
The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) revealed a report showing that the number of people living in areas with acute shortage has doubled since May 2019.
About 1.6 million people were facing food shortage in the month of May and this number has since doubled to reach more than 2.6 million in the month of August.
The food crisis is mostly reported in the arid and semi-arid land (ASAL)where people in these places are either in an emergency situation or are likely to starve in the near future.
The ASAL counties as reported by NDMA are Turkana, Mandera, Baringo, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Tana River, Kitui, Makueni, Kilifi and Meru North, Embu, Nyeri, Meru North, West Pokot, Baringo, Kajiado, Narok, Marsabit, Laikipia, Tharaka Nithi, Samburu and Isiolo, with the most affected being at the northern parts of the countries.
NDMA conducted an assessment on Acute Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) on 23 ASAL areas between June 1 and 19 and discovered that a number of households were in dire need of food and water.
“This means that households in these counties have moderate to large food consumption gaps and above usual acute malnutrition as a result of the prevailing drought or are only marginally able to meet minimum food needs by depleting essential assets or employing crisis and emergency coping strategies,” said NDMA in the report.
“The analysis indicates that drought and food security situation has worsened across most parts of the country, especially in view of the poor performance of the previous season (October to December 2018).”
NDMA reports that drought has been caused by a delay in long-rains or low rainfall across the ASAL areas.
ASAL areas have also been facing a challenge with shooting food prices where the food prices have increased by 10 percent since the month of May and 40 percent in July. The price shift has mostly been affecting the staple foods.
Meanwhile, the government has set up a Drought Command Centre, to respond to the crisis as the affected regions are expecting rains in a few months.