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Drought

Cecilia and Angelie carry jerry cans back from a watering hole to their village.

Fighting the impacts of drought in Kenya

Posted in Blogs 2 years 2 months ago

More than 3 million people in Kenya are impacted by the drought across East Africa, with the worst affected living in the arid and semi-arid lands across the country. The rains have been depressed over the past year and pastoralists are very badly impacted, their livelihoods destroyed and their families suffering. FIfteeen of the 23 arid and semi-arid counties are now in the emergency category. The priority now is to save lives and livelihoods.

Habiba, 50, (right) has walked for 25 days from Ethiopia to Ceelbaxay water-point in Somaliland, in desperate search of water.

If you've been watching the news recently, you'll have seen the catastrophic effects that drought is having on lives and livelihoods in East Africa at the moment. The rains have failed, and as a result crops and livestock have been wiped out - leaving the people who depend on them on the brink of famine. The link between drought and hunger is horribly clear. But drought also increases the risk of another kind of danger, which is often more hidden and less talked about: the risk of violence against women and girls (VAWG). This World Water Day, find out why drought is making women and girls in East Africa more vulnerable to violence. 

Khada, 21, has two children, and she lives with a group of displaced women at a camp. Her family lost 20 camels and sheep in the last two months.

The last time Somalia experienced famine, in 2011, a quarter of a million people died. As the risk of famine looms again, Sadia Abdi Alin, the Country Director of ActionAid Somaliland, the region of Somalia where ActionAid works, blogs about the devastating impact that hunger is having on communities, and how people in the UK can help before it is too late. 

Hodan, 21, holds her baby girl Hodo. She was displaced from the east of Somaliland by the drought, and has lived in a makeshift camp for one year.

“Right now, hunger is wrenching apart whole communities and it is women and girls who are in the most danger.” This is the stark assessment of Sadia Abdi, ActionAid’s Country Director in Somaliland. Somalia, where ActionAid works in the region of Somaliland, is at significant risk of famine, with 6.2 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid. These photos show the impact that the East Africa crisis is already having on women and girls, and why we must act now to save lives. 

In Somaliland, East Africa, Hinda stands with her three children Hamida (seven months), Deka (four), and Umer (five). Over the past two years most of her family's livestock has died because of drought. “I am now scared for my children,” she says.

In Somalia, 110 people died in two days at the start of March as a result of the ongoing drought, according to the Somali Prime Minister. These deaths should have been entirely preventable. Droughts don’t kill people, droughts don’t have to become a famine or a crisis. What kills people in a drought is a lack of food or water. We can’t make it rain, we can’t change the weather, but we can stop people going hungry and thirsty. It is simply a matter of political will, resources and funding. Today, that will seems to be lacking. It risks condemning thousands to a slow, painful, unnecessary death in a catastrophic famine.

Nimo, 35, fears for the lives of her children, as her cattle – her only source of income and food - waste away due to the drought in Somaliland

Up to 12 million people across Somalia, Somaliland, Ethiopia and Kenya are in urgent need of food assistance as severe drought has caused a humanitarian crisis. ActionAid is distributing food and water but the situation is critical. In Ethiopia alone more than three million people are acutely malnourished and famine could soon be a reality.​