Famine's Edge: Kenya, 2011

42 images Created 31 Aug 2011

April 22nd, 2010 was the last time Sahal H. Abdi, Kenya Red Cross Regional Manager for North Eastern Kenya, can recall a single drop of rain touching down on the scorched earth in Garissa, Kenya. That was over 16 months ago.

Since then, the riverbeds have emptied, leaving nothing but dusty scars on the landscape. Carcasses of goats, cows, and camels unable to bear the harsh conditions, litter the side of the 370 km dirt highway between Garissa and Wajir, two of the largest towns in the region.

For years, the Kenya Red Cross has been working to develop long-term solutions to help settle the pastoralist populations in the region, through farming programs, irrigation solutions, and training. Yet they are continually forced to face the short-term and immediate challenges brought by the severe weather conditions.

Global climate change and increasingly unpredictable rains share only part of the responsibility for the current situation. This crisis is manmade. A failure of infrastructure, government planning, and disaster preparedness, coupled with nomadic pastoralist populations living increasingly unsustainable lifestyles, has left an entire region almost at the mercy of local and international aid agencies.

They are being kept alive, year after year, by food aid, water trucking, and the work of countless charities in the region. It's unsustainable. But at the moment, there are few alternatives...
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