There is currently an alarming rate of malnutrition in Northeastern Kenya. The pastoralist peoples who live in this desert region of East Africa’s most prosperous country have traditionally relied on grazing livestock to provide them with meat and milk. However, three consecutive failed rains have created a drought wherein grazing pastures have all but disappeared, livestock are dying off or failing to produce milk, and people are no longer able to obtain enough food to feed their families.
Drastically rising food prices are compounding the situation, making it impossible for families to afford the basic food staples sold in the markets. As with any crisis that puts people’s survival in danger, the most vulnerable and helpless victims of this current food crisis are children. Currently, over sixty percent of children in this region are only able to eat one meal a day.
I recently spent two weeks in the desert of Northeastern Kenya around the town of El Wak, several kilometers from the Somali border, to meet and talk with the people who are being effected by the current situation.