A forlorn cow nuzzles the soil in search of a blade of grass that isn’t there. In better times Andur was the “boss cow” in a herd of 70. She always enjoyed the best pasture, was first to drink from the water trough, and where she led the others followed. By the look of her clearly articulated ribcage, Andur will soon be the one doing the following to where the rest of the herd lie dead on the edge of the village of Funan-Qumbi in Marsabit County.
Cattle-herding tribes of northern Kenya have been waiting four years for the sustained rainfall that they need to survive, but for most of their livestock it is too late. In Marsabit County, 80 per cent of the cattle have died.
Drought is nothing new in this semi-arid region near the Ethiopian border and the pastoralists are resourceful, but even the most wizened tribal elder says that they have never seen anything like this. In the scattered villages dotted about the remote 67,000sq m region where some half a million people live, hawks pick on the animals’ carcasses. It’s a gruesome visual reminder of the climate disaster that has caused the death of 11 million heads of livestock in Kenya and left more than 23 million people in northern Kenya, southern Ethiopia and Somalia at risk of starvation, according to the UN World Food Programme. Some of the elderly in the far-flung villages are already dying of hunger, but their deaths are not being reported because of the shame.
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In Kenya, drought is wiping out livestock and children are dying from lack of food. It is a natural disaster made worse by rising global food prices. The region is bracing itself for heartbreak — within weeks https://t.co/49lRKmxEfi
— The Times and The Sunday Times (@thetimes) March 18, 2023