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Tense situation in Kenya and South Sudan

Illeret is located on the shore of Lake Turkana in the drought-stricken Northern region of Kenya, a three-day journey away from the nation’s capital Nairobi and just a few kilometers from the boarder to Ethiopia. There are hardly any visitors coming to this village; it is dusty, and at the moment more than usual. There has been no rain in the past eighteen months. 80 per cent of the animals are already dead. This is a tragic situation for the people because their livelihoods depend on cattle herding. Farming is also practically hopeless when the rainy season eventually comes, since there is hardly anything growing. The Dassanech are increasingly directly affected by the consequences of climate change. Around 23,000 people live in this region. A large part of the wells has already dried up. For this reason Malteser International's staff have distributed water to nearby villages using a water truck so that people can at least still have access to a ration of drinking water. Cattle have also been bought off the villagers to be distributed as meat. Our staff have also distributed food supplements for undernourished infants and children under 5 years.

But the situation is getting more and more critical. Sieso Anyder is 33 years old. She has been living in this area for 14 years and has a good life here. "It was never this bad", she tells us. "Almost all of our animals have died. We have to travel further to get water and there are no more pastures for the animals to graze upon. It feels like God is now letting everyone die... just like the end of the world.”

Providing opportunities for subsitence agriculture

However, the drought is not the only cause of hunger in these African countries. South Sudan has been in a state of civil war for over 3 years and people have lost confidence to go out to the fields and cultivate vegetables and other foodstuff. This has led to the reduction in food production. Growing inflation is also to blame for the poor conditions that have prevailed in the young country. About 100,000 people are facing starvation here alone, five million people are heavily dependent on food aid.

Julia Angelo Ucin fled from her village to seek refuge in the city of Wau. She currently lives with her children in the camp. She lost her husband and son in the civil war, and her brother is still missing. Malteser International has been training displaced persons like Julia on ways to cultivate basic vegetables like Okra, cabbage and pumpkins in the city. This has helped Julia provide for her family. "I don’t know what I would have done without the help of Malteser International.” she says. “Now we have enough to eat and my children are doing well again."

Read more about our projects in Kenya

(May 22, 2017, Katharina Kiecol)

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