Contrasting Kenyan Resilience to Drought: 2011 to 2017 - Full Report

Speeches Shim

Despite repeated severe droughts in 2016/17, the severity of Kenyan food insecurity was substantially less than during the 2010/11 drought and substantially less than might be expected given historical relationships between drought severity and humanitarian need. In line with this, U.S. government expenditures were also substantially less (about half) than what might be expected based on historical relationships.

Key findings that support these observations include:

  • Both the extent and depth of food insecurity was much smaller in 2017 than in 2011. In 2011 the number of severely hungry (IPC 3 or 4) Kenyans was ~2.8 million, in 2017 it was ~1.75 million.
  • Based on the historical relationship between drought severity and humanitarian assistance, an estimated 500,000 fewer people were in need of humanitarian assistance (IPC 3 or 4) in 2017 than would be expected.
  • Despite three severe consecutive droughts, deflated US Government food aid expenditures for Kenya in 2017 were about half (51% and 40%) of the expenditures during the last two severe crises in 2011 and 2009.
  • Despite a more severe agricultural shock, maize prices normalized more quickly in 2017 than 2011, however this may reflect market interventions by the Kenyan Government.

Together these findings suggest that Kenya was substantially more resilient to these types of climatic shocks in 2017 than it was in 2011.

This full version of the report examines two main questions – i) how bad was the 2016/2017 drought in Kenya, compared to the signature recent drought in 2010/11, and ii) given the relative severity of the 2016/17 drought, was the cost and depth of current food insecurity less than what we might expect given historical outcomes?


Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 10:00am