Hundreds of thousands of animals have died in East Africa during the current drought. For pastoralists in East Africa, animals aren ’ t simply a source of food and milk – they ’ re living banks, the main assets that people own. When their animals die, pastoralists don ’ t have the means to feed their families.
Pastoralists are travelling enormous distances to find water and pasture for their animals. Women, children and the elderly are often left behind. “ Food aid has ensured our survival. But the food is limited. The drought will continue, but if there is no rain by September, people will die. ” Le Patina Lentokoko, Kipsing, northern Kenya.
“ We have had three years without rain. There were other droughts but this is very severe. Cattle, camels, even donkeys are dying. The only thing we are surviving on is food aid. ” Ndugayo Patoye, with Kulamo Mirgibar, Hula-Hula village near Marsabit in northern Kenya.
"We are forced to share water with animals because we have no other way of sustaining ourselves. A number of people died recently following an outbreak of disease. We hope we will get assistance so that we can get clean water for ourselves." Mary Namuroi, Kipsing, northern Kenya
“ One of our biggest challenges is reaching malnourished children who do not live near the clinics and hospitals. ” Sister Jessica Atimango at Laisamis Hospital in Marsabit works to improve the nutrition of pregnant women and small children. But the hospital struggles to reach remote communities.
Baby Maria, 9 months, is assessed for malnutrition at the Catholic Clinic in Hula-Hula village near Marsabit. The clinic ’ s supplementary feeding programme provides plumpynut – a peanut-based nutrient-rich food – for severely malnourished children.
Lillian Kathomi Mutembei is a CAFOD nutritionist providing training and support to the Diocese of Marsabit. With your support, we can provide emergency food aid and medical supplies to many more vulnerable people.
Ten million people across the region require emergency relief. Please keep them in your prayers.
PLEASE DONATE TO OUR EAST AFRICA APPEAL www.cafod.org.uk/eastafrica Photos: Laura Donkin Richard Wainwright