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Diakonia, ADS and NCCK participants in contingency planning. Photo: Samuel Odero, ACK

Work for disaster risk reduction in Kenya

The Diakonia Kenya Country Programme met with its partners Anglican Development Services (ADS) and National Council of Churches in Kenya (NCCK) in mid April 2014 to review its humanitarian contingency plan.

4/25/2014 Publisher: Stephen Ndichu

The plan prepared for the elections needs to be replaced

Previously, the Kenya country programme had developed a contingency plan aimed at preparation for the 2013 General Elections. The plan mapped out potential hotspots for violence during and after the elections. This plan is now outdated and will be replaced with a nation-wide contingency plan.

Several risk factors and potential triggers for violence

Kenya is emerging from a state of ethnic conflicts, insecurity and poverty among others and these compounded by the high cost of living and the 2011 Horn of Africa drought crisis that affected vast regions in the north and north east of Kenya has added to these challenges.

The interplay of a number of triggers and risk factors is contributing to an elevated risk of localized violence.

The rapid urbanisation of the main cities in Kenya exposes the population to particular disaster risks.

In addition the effects of climate change have made food security erratic and unreliable further exposing the rural farming communities to slow oust disasters. According to EM-DAT , in the last 10 years, droughts and flooding are the most prevalent, with droughts affecting an average of 3.8 million people and flooding affecting at least 237,000 people every time the disasters happens. However, flooding has the highest fatalities compared to other disasters in Kenya.

Diakonia as a humanitarian actor

Diakonia has a long history with humanitarian action; in fact Diakonia was started in response to a disaster in 1966 in lndia. Over time Diakonia has integrated both disaster response and long term development in its work in more than 30 countries in the world.

Since 2010 Diakonia has embarked on strengthening its own capacity and that of its partner on humanitarian interventions. 

The need for improved capacities for humanitarian action is brought about by the observation that over a quarter of a billion people affected each year by natural disasters, and rising; climate change affecting the frequency and intensity of hazards; civilians are increasingly targeted in warfare, and global refugee numbers are increasing; there is declining humanitarian space, where aid agencies are having difficulty in delivering humanitarian assistance or protection without threat or barriers; declining funding for humanitarian action due to fatigue and numerous disaster and the need to engage in the continued investment in initiatives to improve the effectiveness and accountability of humanitarian aid.

Food prices and degradation of nature

Diakonia has also noted that food prices are continuing to rise; there is continued degradation of the natural environment; an increase in unplanned urbanisation and reduced government spending on social protection in the wake of the global economic crisis.

It is therefore imperative that in the future long term planning that Diakonia plans for increasing numbers of people requiring humanitarian assistance; the possibility of increased disaster risk in urban areas; the continued caseloads of refugees and IDPs from prolonged crises, as well as new ones resulting from emerging conflicts, disaster events and climate change impacts and a very broad range of crises from mega-disasters to small-scale disasters, and both rapid and slow-onset disasters.

Disaster risk reduction included in the humanitarian action

Diakonia looks into long term development after disaster response by including disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience aspects in its contingency planning. In every humanitarian action project 40 per cent of the funds are used for resilience and DRR.

Source: "EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database www.em-dat.net - Université Catholique de Louvain - Brussels - Belgium" last accessed 15 April2014

Anglican Development Services (ADS Kenya) is a development agency of the Anglican Church of Kenya Head Office that continues conducts a holistic ministry, among others using a variety of participatory methodologies. The agency has a nationwide coverage organised around dioceses through which all development interventions are conducted. Currently, ADS Kenya is partnering with the Diakonia Kenya programme in implementing governance work and has also been selected as a humanitarian partner as maybe necessary.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) is an umbrella body for 35 members comprising of the main protestants churches in Kenya. NCCK has been partnering with Diakonia Kenya in implementing governance work and humanitarian response.