Extreme climatic events have long posed a significant risk to regions in Kenya, and they have contributed to making it one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world (MOSSP, n.d.). Of particular concern are floods and droughts, with major droughts occurring about every 10 years, and moderate droughts or floods every three to four years (AEA Group, 2008a). Historically, these extreme climatic events have caused significant loss of life and adversely affected the national economy. Droughts have affected the most people and had the greatest economic impact (Earth Institute, n.d.); it is estimated that droughts cost about 8.0 per cent of GDP every five years (AEA Group, 2008b, p. 1). While usually more localized, floods have led to the greatest loss of human lives (Earth Institute , n.d.). Other climate-related hazards in Kenya include forest fires and landslides, the latter of which mostly affect the highland regions (UNDP, n.d.a).
Every year seasonal assessments are done to monitor the performance of the rains in the county and their impact primarily on food and nutrition security. The variability in rainfall over the years has predisposed communities and systems to droughts and related emergencies with the year 2011 going down as one where the scale and impact of the drought was far reaching and risked a stretch to the humanitarian system as it were. Since then, a greater shift has been placed on sectoral preparedness and response planning given the increasing predictability and precision of climate related events like drought.
Over the years, the impact of drought on nutrition situation of women and children has been realized in the high levels of global acute malnutrition recorded in some of the Arid and Semi-Arid counties with the risk of mortality during such periods being very apparent. To this end, and in line with the National Nutrition Action Plan, the sector prepares the sectoral preparedness and response plan to guide and coordinate its drought mitigation efforts at National and County level through the county health and nutrition teams in collaboration with National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and other partners. The response plan seeks to ensure that acute nutrition vulnerabilities identified are responded in a timely, coordinated and comprehensive manner that minimizes their impacts specifically on morbidity and mortality for children under five years (boys and girls) and pregnant and lactating women. The plan further takes into consideration the urban poor who are equally affected by season fluctuation in food prices and general food availability in the markets.