Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 27 July 2011
Butchered sheep and goats are strung up in a thorn tree ready for cooking in this remote north Kenyan village, as though the people are preparing a giant celebration feast.
But there is no party here and the mood is grim: in desperation, the villagers are killing the animals upon which their lives depend, rather than see them die in the extreme drought sweeping the region.
“We are not happy to have to kill our animals,” said Elema Warrio, an elderly herder, looking on sadly at the 25 carcasses, the latest to be killed in a weekly cull.
“We would be happy if there was grazing and water for them, but since we don’t have a choice, we can only kill them,” he added.
Some 12 million people across the Horn of Africa are struggling from the worst drought in decades, with two regions in southern Somalia in famine.
Tens of thousands of people have died, as the international community scramble to provide emergency relief.
“This is the worst drought we have had, and we have lost hope of seeing rain,” said Galgalo Wato, a herder and father of seven, waving at the vast and dusty scrubland surrounding the village of 700 people.
The land here is too dry for crop farming, and the community depends entirely on animals for their livelihoods.
“In previous droughts we would lose 20 or 30 animals, but then the rains would come and the calves would be born,” Wato added. “It was never as long as this.” Continue reading