Atiir, a pastoralist and a mother to five children; Amoni, Ekalale, Arot, Imzee and Ebei, is one of the families badly affected by the drought in Turkana. Our team describes her as one of the most ‘resilient women’ they have ever met.
Atiir's two youngest children are both malnourished and she has lost her goats to drought. Five were lost in 2017 and the remaining five were taken by this year’s drought. All she has left are three kid goats which are not yet mature enough to produce milk. She picks fruit for her family and her goats to eat and tries to supplement this diet by collecting firewood and burning charcoal every day so that she can sell them to make money to buy food.
Atiir and her children are eating only one meal a day from the money she earns. She has few reserves of strength to draw from to ensure she can put some food on the table, as the changing climate has pushed her to her limits.
I can starve up to ten days without food. I cannot remember the number of times I have stayed without food. All I would take is warm water and sometimes, when it becomes too much in my stomach, I would vomit the water. Because there is nothing to hold it in my stomach.
In Turkana in northern Kenya, consecutive droughts have led to an escalation of human suffering with up to two million people in Kenya currently in need of food as a result of the lack of rain.
The latest rainy season has just ended with below-average rainfall and no further rain is due until October at the earliest. Prevailing dry conditions have led to the deterioration of farmland and pastures, loss of livestock, increased food prices and reduction of the availability of water. Water pumps have been overused and are now in need of repair.
The pastoralist people living in this semi-arid county rely heavily on two things; water and their cattle. Both have been severely affected by the recurring droughts, with the consequence that over 30% of under-fives are acutely malnourished and up to 7.8% are severely malnourished.
To put that into perspective, rates of 15% or higher are considered a ‘critical emergency’ situation to the point where they are at risk of dying if timely and appropriate aid is not forthcoming.
As the climate crisis escalates on a global level, vulnerable communities around the world are confronting the consequences. All predictions indicate that their situation will only worsen unless action is taken now to enhance their resilience. They urgently need our support and we are reaching as many people as we possibly can, but we need your help to reach more.