Drought and Famine : Surprise or Expected?

3 Min Read

July 31, 2011 By Mwangi

Britain’s possessions in British East Africa during the colonial period. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once again as is usual in this part of the world (East Africa), there is famine brought on by the Drought that has ravaged Northern kenya and Somalia. As a result refugees pour into Ethiopia and Kenyan camps the largest being the one in Daadab east of Garissa in Eastern Kenya. This happens year in year out and has spun an industry consisting of a constellation of International and local NGOs, aid agencies and all manner of expatriates coming to “help the poor”.

In all honesty this has no end in sight since it is all reactionary. Next year we will be right here with the media peddling images of emaciated children with flies in their mouths and eyes to coax that money out of your wallet and into the newest aid agency on the block which probably got to you through Twitter. It does nothing to adress the root cause of why these guys are dying of hunger and how to solve it.

No-one talks of the fact that these people are mainly pastoralists, a culture that should have ended in the last century. Relying on cattle for sustenance is fine when there is endless pastureland and watering holes. but what happens when the sky doesnt open up for months and the pastureland turns to miles upon miles of dust and rocks? They beg for Aid, that’s what they do. I have fasted for a week so I know what it is like to sleep and wake up hungry. I am in no way belittling what they go through but setting yourself up for a failure whether knowingly or not has the same outcome year in year out. That way of life is not sustainable. everyone knows it. But nobody says it.

The Kenyan government rushes every time the area starts getting bad press and international investors start wondering if their investment is safe in a starving country. It is declared a national disaster and the begging bowls come out of the closet. Its despicable.

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