Every day, Fatima Daar Foot walks her one surviving animal – a mule – to Dertu village in north-east Kenya to collect water for her family.
The village is the only water point in a 50km radius. In June, the village would have been filled with cattle, camels and goats being led to the water. A month later, most of the animals in the area have died due to lack of pasture and water.
Fatima's animals are no different. “It is terrible, we are suffering deeply. All our animals are dead because of the drought. We have nothing left."
Rising food prices
Fatima, a mother of eight and grandmother of two, is struggling to take care of her family. Some of them have gone to live with relatives who have fractionally more resources.
“What are we going to do?" Fatima asks. "The food prices are so high that we cannot afford to buy food."
Food prices have increased dramatically in the Horn of Africa, which is suffering from drought and, in some parts of Somalia, famine. In some places, food prices have doubled and even tripled.
While food aid will help people suffering in the immediate crisis, long-term solutions need to be found for the region which experiences frequent food insecurity.
Building a green belt
The Norwegian, Finnish and Kenya Red Cross are starting a new project. It will follow similar projects already showing great results; they'll create a green belt in the middle of the desolate and dry landscape, and provide the pastoralists in the area an alternative livelihood.
Year after year the rains fail, making the pastoralist tradition harder to sustain. Some want new livelihoods. The projects create access to water and farming, taking water from existing and new boreholes, and rivers. This will also benefit those who remain pastoralists, who come wandering with their animals in search for water.
The project hopes to see green vegetation growing in this area in 2012.
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