As a result of the extremely low rainfall in the last rainy season, the Kenyan government has declared a national state of emergency and asked international aid organisations for humanitarian aid. The background is a severe drought that is affecting all countries in the Horn of Africa. In many regions, wells have dried up, crops have withered, livestock has been destroyed. With the water shortage, the food supply is also in danger.
We are currently experiencing a similar severe drought in East Africa as in 2017, with the difference that this does not play a role in the news worldwide.
Tankers deliver water in Laikipia
In search of water, affected people in the Kenyan district of Laikipia travel more than 30 kilometres and over four hours every day. The district is located directly at the equator and is currently one of the regions in Kenya most affected by drought. arche noVa cooperates with the local organisation Laikipia Permaculture Centre Trust (LPCT). Apart from long-term development cooperation, emergency aid is now the order of the day. Until the end of February, 1,080 households in the Maasai communities of our project area will receive vital water by tanker truck.
Gallery: Drought in East Africa - Livestock farmers fear for their animals
Great need for aid also in Somalia
In Somalia, arche noVa also keeps an eye on the current situation. Our local partner organisations report that the situation here is at least as difficult as in neighbouring Kenya - if not even more dramatic. A total of 3.2 million people are considered to be affected. The Shabelle River, which is the most important river for southern Ethiopia and the whole of Somalia, currently only carries 20 percent of its usual water volume.
"It is only the beginning of the dry season. So it will probably continue like this for the next two months. Our animals are already starving and dying because of lack of pasture and water, what do you think will be at the end of March? God help us," says Dahir Hanshi, a pastoralist from our project area.
In the Galmudug region, where arche noVa works among others, thousands of families are fleeing because they cannot provide for themselves and their animals. Several cattle farmers have already lost animals to the drought. Moreover, the herds are hardly worth anything anymore. Due to malnutrition and poor health, prices for goats and camels have plummeted. In turn, water prices have skyrocketed. Livestock farmers and their families are struggling to survive. This is also the case for the people living off agriculture, who have lost their harvests in large parts.
Without water, hunger looms
"As a coping mechanism, families have reduced the frequency and quantity of meals, including for the children," says the latest situation report from our local partner organisation, written as usual in neutral language. Behind this are frightening individual fates. Children no longer go to school because it is more important for them to participate in the search for water, income or pasture.
Humanitarian aid started
In view of the acute need for aid, arche noVa has also started distributing drinking water in Somalia. Our local partner organisation Action for Social and Economic Progress (ASEP) is implementing the emergency aid and is currently reaching more than 5,250 people.
For the emergency aid in the Horn of Africa, arche noVa is urgently dependent on donations.