1.1 Kenya Humanitarian Background


Disasters, Conflicts and Migration 

Natural Disasters 



Comments / Details 



Kenya recently experienced the worst drought in nearly 40 years. Each drought episode is estimated to result in losses of livelihoods to the tune of USD 500million. The frequency, intensity and impact of drought has increased in recent times, with the last drought declared a national disaster in 2022.  



Earthquakes are not common in Kenya, save for minor tremors reported occasionally  



Human and livestock disease outbreaks are reported in Kenya from time to time.  

Extreme Temperatures 


Several parts of the country in the North-eastern region experience high temperatures at certain months of the year particularly Jan -February 



Emerging from the periodic droughts, the two main rainfall seasons in Kenya often cause flooding in the north-eastern regions and the Lake Victoria basins. The flooding often renders roads impassable, bridges broken, and lives lost in a few of the areas that are worst affected.  

Insect Infestation 


Desert locust infestation has been reported in recent years, as well as the African Fall armyworm 



Mudslides and landslides are periodically reported in various parts of the country – particularly in Central Kenya highlands and the Western Rift Valley highlands  

Volcanic Eruptions 


Most volcanoes in Kenya are dormant and have not shown any volcanic activity in the last 50years.  

High Waves / Surges 


High tides are reported in the country – but have not caused any emergencies in the known history  



Wildfires result from human activity especially during the dry season affecting some savannah grasslands around forest 

High Winds 


A few places in the country experience high cross-winds of up to 80mph, which occasionally cause motor vehicle accidents especially in the Northern regions.  

Other Comments 


Man-Made Issues 

Civil Strife 


Several inter-communal conflicts have been reported from time to time, especially resulting from border conflicts and resource-based conflicts 

International Conflict 


Kenya has no active international conflict at the time of current reporting  

Internally Displaced Persons 


There are no internally displaced persons in the country at the time of reporting 

Refugees Present 


Kenya hosts the two largest refugee camps in Kenya – Dadaab in the North-eastern region and Kakuma and Kalobeyei in the North-western regions. These camps are home to nearly 1million refugees fleeing persecution from conflicts in neighbouring countries such as Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Democratic Republic of Congo  

Landmines / UXO Present 



Other Comments 



For a more detailed database on disasters by country, please see the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters Country Profile. 


Seasonal Effects on Logistics Capacities 

Seasonal Effects on Transport 

Transport Type 

Time Frame 

Comments / Details 

Primary Road Transport 

March – May  


Oct - December 

There has been significant improvement in the national trunk roads and transnational highways paving in the past decade. This has resulted in several the main highways being tarmacked and reducing travel times between major towns and cities. However, Kenya still has many roads constructed largely of earth that can become impassable during the rain seasons. 

This can have a dramatic impact on the road and transport infrastructure but has little or no direct influence on the efficiency of air and rail networks. 

More details on the seasonal effects on roads 

in different regions of Kenya are annexed to this chapter. 

Secondary Road Transport 


Majority of the second transport are earth roads which can be rendered impassable during the rainy seasons (March – May; and Oct – December) 

Rail Transport 


No seasonal impact on rail transport – recently commissioned standard gauge railway has increased transport capacity from Mombasa to Nairobi and Naivasha.  

Air Transport 


No seasonal impacts on air transport between major cities and towns.  

Waterway Transport 


No seasonal impacts on the waterway transport  


The main rain season – locally known as the long rains – is March-April-May (MAM) where most parts of the country receive significant amounts of rainfalls. The short rains season in Oct-Nov-Dec (OND) also causes flooding and roads are cut off. Outside the main national highways, secondary roads are significantly affected during these seasons and rendered largely impassable.  

The port also experiences some congestion in certain seasons, especially during discharge of bulk cargo such as fertilizers imported by private sector players and the government of Kenya. However, in recent times, investment in handling capacity and additional berths, the bulk silo handling of grains and vessel discharge to the standard gauge railway has eased the congestion that often resulted in days or waiting for trucks to load on cargo.  

The main harvesting season for grains in the North Rift region happens in November and December, and occasionally puts pressure on the storage facilities and transport capacities available for humanitarian activities.  

Seasonal Effects on Storage and Handling 

Activity Type 

Time Frame 

Comments / Details 


October – January 

Main harvest season for the North rift region, where bulk grain harvesting happens in the main breadbasket of Kenya. This can constrain availability of storage facilities in the north-rift.  


December – February 

Fertilizer handling at the port of Mombasa can clog the port.  






Capacity and Contacts for In-Country Emergency Response 


The Government of Kenya has ramped up its capacity to respond to emergencies over the past decade. In particular, the two-tier governance framework under the Constitution of Kenya 2010 establishes disaster risk management as a shared responsibility between the National and County Governments. The County Governments – through the Departments for Special Programmes are responsible for the first line of response. Once their capacities are exceeded or exhausted, due to widespread nature of a disaster, the national government entities complement the county government disaster management activities. If the scale of the disaster exceeds the coping capacity of both the counties and national government are exceeded, a national disaster is declared by the President of the Republic, inviting international actors to join in the disaster response.  

At the national level, several agencies are responsible for disaster management. These include the National Disaster Operations Centre (NDOC), the National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU) and the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA). The multiplicity of disaster management institutions at the national level means that the coordination and communications during disasters can be a significant challenge depending on which disaster is in question.  

Occasionally, the military can be deployed to support emergency response activities – particularly for sudden onset disasters such as floods and terrorism related activities. Generally, the President – with approval of the National Security Council - will authorize the deployment of the military for civil disaster response.  


For more information on government contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Government Contact List. 



Humanitarian efforts in Kenya typically involve various international and local organizations, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to address various humanitarian challenges, including food insecurity, displacement, healthcare, and education. 


United Nations (UN) Agencies: 

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): UNHCR is active in Kenya, primarily focusing on refugee protection, registration, and assistance to refugees from neighbouring countries, including Somalia, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.  

World Food Programme (WFP Kenya): WFP operates food assistance programs to combat hunger and malnutrition in Kenya, particularly in areas prone to drought and food insecurity. 

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF): UNICEF works to improve child health, education, and protection in Kenya, with a focus on vulnerable and marginalized communities. 


International NGOs: 

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders): MSF provides medical care and humanitarian assistance to populations affected by disease outbreaks, conflict, and displacement. 

CARE International: CARE works on various development and humanitarian projects in Kenya, including initiatives related to food security, gender equality, and economic empowerment. 


Kenyan Government and Agencies: 

The Kenyan government, through its various ministries, plays a vital role in responding to humanitarian crises and disaster management. This includes the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Ministry of Health, and others. 


Local Non-Government Organizations: 

Numerous local NGOs operate in Kenya, addressing a wide range of humanitarian issues, including healthcare, education, disaster response, and community development. 


Donor Agencies: 

Donor agencies and international development organizations provide funding and support for humanitarian programs in Kenya. These include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Union, and the UK's Department for International Development (DFID, now part of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office). 



Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: 

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) plays a significant role in disaster response, emergency relief, and community development. It is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. 


For more information on humanitarian agency contact details, please see the following link: 4.2 Humanitarian Agency Contact List



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