Hazards such as droughts, flooding, disease epidemics, and conflicts affect thousands each year in Kenya. People in arid and semi-arid areas have become marginalized and vulnerable to drought and floods. This undermines their productive assets and makes them increasingly more dependent upon external humanitarian aid. Drought is a major external shock and a primary trigger of livelihood crises.
Cyclical droughts are a defining feature of pastoralists’ and farmers’ way of life. However, in recent decades, their adaptive capacity to resist or recover from drought-related shocks has been progressively undermined. Furthermore, the chronic vulnerability that characterizes many pastoral groups today is not merely related to environmental stresses, but is the result of complex and multidimensional political, economic and social processes.
The worsening situation in rural areas drives many people into cities, where they often end up in urban slums with inadequate health care and sanitary facilities, and little to no education and employment opportunities. Conflicts over limited ecological resources and cattle raiding occur, and are more pronounced during times of drought. Elections and political tensions are also major triggers of violent incidences.