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Pastoralists suffer in East Africa

Pastoralists across East Africa continue to suffer as droughts deplete pasture and water resources (Anthony Morland/IRIN)
Pastoralists across East Africa continue to suffer as droughts deplete pasture and water resources
Anthony Morland/IRIN

Regions in Kenya, Uganda, Somalia and Ethiopia are experiencing food shortages, soaring food prices and increasing rates of malnutrition. Prolonged droughts and failed rains have forced pastoralists in these regions to move further afield and more frequently in search of pasture and water, which is causing more conflict and spreading livestock diseases. In Somaliland, the FAO's Food Security and Nutritional Analysis Unit reported that an acute food crisis was emerging due to the failure of the Gu (long) rains and three previous seasons of poor rainfall. Pasture resources in areas that had adequate rainfall have also deteriorated due to livestock migration from neighbouring drought-stricken regions.

Severe and prolonged droughts are displacing pastoralist families across Kenya, Uganda and Sudan as rising livestock deaths are leaving many destitute. Critical malnutrition rates have been recorded in Turkana in Northern Kenya where rates have risen above the emergency threshold for under five year olds. The price of maize has also doubled in the last year, compounding the situation. In response, the Kenyan government has begun to truck water into drought-affected regions, while WFP has appealed for US$230 million to increase food distribution.

Date published: September 2009

 

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