Across east Africa, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers helped their communities survive severe drought, high food prices, and the death of their livestock.
Here are some stories from the people we helped, and from the staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly in their communities.
"We are suffering deeply. All our animals are dead because of the drought. We have nothing left. The food prices are so high that we cannot afford to buy food. What are we going to do?"
Fatima, a mother of eight and grandmother of two in north-east Kenya
“With my life as a farmer, I can send my children to school, and we do not go hungry during droughts like we have today. Now, there is life.”
Aden Shekh, a pastoralist-turned-farmer in Kenya, where the Red Cross and partners have helped build a 3,300-acre farm serving 2,000 people.
"Things were really difficult when the drought happened. But things started getting better after the Red Cross’ relief operation. We were given cereals like maize and sorghum. The Red Cross also gave sheep to poor female-headed houses like me, and our life has changed since then."
Mengiste Bala, southern Ethiopia
" This is year’s drought is the worst we have seen. Everything we planted remained buried in the ground. Last year, the seed actually grew up but was ruined after the rain failed."
Nura Galaba, pastoralist, southern Ethiopia
“I am happy that I am helping solve the problems in communities like mine. I can bring something to the community. Because I know this area well, I can make sure the Red Cross can reach every corner of the community.”
Guyo Golicha, Ethiopia Red Cross volunteer
“I’ve never seen this area as dry as it is now. The seasonal rivers are supposed to fill up during the rainy seasons and keep the water flowing for quite a while afterwards. It’s really bad that they’re dry. People are digging in the riverbed to get to the ground water.”
Anne Signe Hørstad, Norwegian Red Cross water and sanitation delegate based in Kenya
“We are semi-pastoralists who are dependent on farming and cows, camels and goats. Because of the failure of rain for two consecutive years, we have not grown any grain. No seed we sowed came out of the ground. We also lost all our cattle and camels.”
Hassan Ibrahim, southern Ethiopia
“Before this tap water was built for us by the Red Cross, we were fetching and drinking water from a swamp which was polluted infested with mosquitos. Thanks to the Red Cross, we now have clean water for washing, drinking, and cooking.”
Workinesh Mota, southern Ethiopia
“[What we earn from farming] is not enough for us, but it is much better than it used to be. We are all former pastoralists here, but from different tribes. Usually there is a little bit of conflict between the tribes for access to feeding areas for the animals, but here with the farms we are no longer in conflict. Everybody lives side by side regardless of which tribe one is from, and that is good.”
Ismail, father of four in Kenya, where the Red Cross and partners have helped build a 3,300-acre farm serving 2,000 people.