East Africa: Looking for drought solutions

The United States and other countries that have provided aid to the region will meet in late March to address long-term solutions to recurring droughts.

By Kathryn Reid and Lucy Murunga. Photo by Jon Warren
Published March 14, 2012 at 12:00am PDT

“There is a high probability of drought returning to the Greater Horn of Africa,” Laban Ogallo, director of an African intergovernmental development group recently told climate scientists meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.

“We must realize many of these areas are already facing the cumulative impact of several droughts,” he said, calling on “governments, civil society, and the media” to prepare for the worst.

Humanitarian aid and more rainfall have eased the hunger crisis in the Horn.

However, Nancy Lindborg, a senior official with the U.S. Agency for International Development, testified before Congress that “the situation is still one of the most severe crises globally.”  

The United Nations estimates tens of thousands died in the Horn’s 2011 famine and hunger.

Long-term solutions 

The United States and other countries that have given aid to the region plan to meet in late March in Kenya to address long-term solutions to recurring droughts, including vaccinating livestock and encouraging alternative livelihoods, Lindborg said.

Vaccinated livestock are in better physical condition and command a higher market price if pastoralists sell off some of their herd when it becomes hard to afford to feed them.

Maina King’ori, a World Vision program officer, says in addition to vaccination programs in northern Kenya, World Vision is preparing water harvesting systems to take advantage of the “long rains” that will fall between March and May.

“Should this rainfall season fail, then there is trouble, especially for pastoralists who are yet to recover from a prolonged period of drought; their resilience is at its lowest point ever,” says King’ori. “There is need to pre-position adequate food supplies ahead of the rainy season.”

“Early warning should lead to early action,” King’ori notes.

Four ways you can help

Please pray for children and families impacted by drought. Pray for rains to return to this dry region, enabling a better harvest, and pray for critical assistance to reach those who are suffering most in the meantime. 

Sponsor a child. Through sponsorship, you’ll help provide a child with life-giving necessities like nutritious food, clean water, medical care, education, and more. Sponsorship also supports emegency interventions during times of crisis.

Make a one-time gift to help provide life-saving food and care. Your donation will help deliver critical assistance to hungry children around the world, like emergency food aid, agricultural support, clean water, nutritional training, and more.

Contact your members of Congress. Voice your support for the U.S. International Affairs Budget, which helps fund programs that fight poverty, hunger, and disease. Making up only about one percent of the entire federal budget, there are few places in that budget where dollars translate so directly into lives saved.