Yes, we must. Stopping a disaster in Kenya

Locheramoe Kuwom is from the drought hit village of Kaaruko in Lokori, northern Kenya where people have little or nothing to eat. Credit: Eoghan Rice / Trocaire)

By Eoghan Rice

The Turkana district of northern Kenya is where human life began. The earliest known human remains have been found here and in the areas just north across the Ethiopian border.

The fact that human life has been sustained here for hundreds of thousands of years points to a fertile land capable of producing food. So, what has changed?

In a word: climate.

The facts speak for themselves: a two degree rise in temperature since 1960; the last eight years being the hottest on record; a 25 per cent decrease in rainfall over 10 years.

East Africa can produce food to sustain its population but the goalposts have been moved on it.

Today, the Turkana lands are dry and dusty as far as the eye can see. Every river on the 230km drive from Lodwar to  Lokitaung has dried-up. Where rivers once flowed, there are now dusty valleys.

On the land which was once home to the River Keiro, we witnessed a group of 30 local people digging holes five foot deep in an attempt to squeeze the last drops of water from the earth.

All over this region, the rivers which once sustained thousands of villages have disappeared. With their nearby river gone, people now have to walk for hours in search of water. When – if – they find some, it is often dangerously dirty. They drink it anyway. What choice do they have?

Andrew Lodio (pictured below) and his family built their homes on a site near to Lokitaung precisely because there was a river, perhaps 50m wide, running alongside it. That river is now as dry as the barren land that stretches for a 1000km on every side of it.

“Other years were different,” he says. “There have been droughts here before but never like this one. This one is worse because it is all over the region. Normally if it is bad here we can go somewhere else, but now it is bad all over. There is nowhere to go.”

Andrew is frail. His eyes tell of a man who has not eaten in days. Two days, to be precise.

Every village in this region tells a similar tale. Crops have failed, animals have died, people are starving. Their bellies empty, they look at the cloudless blue skies and pray for rain.

In the cradle of humanity, a humanitarian disaster is in full bloom.

 Eoghan Rice is a communications officer for Trocaire (Caritas Ireland)

4 Comments

Filed under Africa, Conflicts and Disasters, Emergencies, Food, Kenya, Malnutrition

4 responses to “Yes, we must. Stopping a disaster in Kenya

  1. Jordi

    I live in Mexico, how can we help?

  2. Celina Bernal

    Hello. I am in Mexico and I would like to make a tranfer to help Somalian people. How can we help? Which is the specific transfer line to do this?

    • Jordi

      Hola, hace unos días yo tenía la misma intención que usted. Escribí por mail a caritas internationalis y me dieron la siguiente instrucción, fue muy fácil. Dios la bendiga. Copio lo que me escribieron:

      Buenos días Jordi,
      Le agradezco por su amable comunicación.
      La mejor forma de ayudar en este momento sería enviando dinero. A través de nuestro sitio de web http://www.caritas.org es muy fácil realizar la operación:
      – Hacer clic en DONATE NOW o COLABORE AHORA (Botón azul a la derecha)
      – Hacer clic en DONATE ON LINE o DONACIONES EN LINEA (Botón azul)

      Le aparecerá un breve formulario para completar y procesar su donación.

      Por cualquier información no dude en contactarme.

      Saludos cordiales.

  3. yasmin mendez-como trabajar con internet

    we must help each day there are more campaigns to raise money, but genetics does not know or do not want to know.

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