How to save lives during extreme drought: Give water to the animals

Today, the United Nations declared famine in parts of the Horn of Africa — resulting from the past few years of unpredictable weather and extreme drought. There hasn’t been an official famine since 1984-85.

One of the ways FH is helping save lives in this region is by caring for the animals on which so many people depend.

Many people in Northern Kenya are pastoralist,
meaning their lives revolve around their animals.

They often are nomadic, traveling from place to place as the landscape changes, in search of food and water. This part of Kenya experiences a minor drought each year, as part of the weather’s natural course. But recent droughts have become more and more severe and, this year, it is especially deadly.

Residents of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are especially at risk — some 12 million are feeling the shortage of food (BBC). This photo is from Marsabit, Kenya.

With funds from the U.S. government, FH has been working closely with other organizations (World VisionCARECRSACF), in this area for years, having adequately responded to the 2009 drought.

Last month, FH requested more money from the government to meet today’s critical needs during this dire emergency. Please pray for God’s favor on this request which was submitted to USAID on June 24.

For people who depend on their animals for milk, food and income, extreme drought is a desperate situation. Sickly livestock don’t sell well in the marketplace, leaving the most resource-poor people without food and without a way to buy food.

To help sustain human life during this crisis, FH and its partner organizations work to sustain the livestock by providing vaccines, deworming medicine and food for the animals.

To keep them hydrated, supplies are provided to construct bore holes, dams and animal troughs.

Using a “cash for work” model, pastoralist herders build these structures themselves and earn money for their labor,
thereby being enabled to buy basic necessities.

FH and its partner organizations plan to help more than one million people through this program, providing both food and income for families dependent on the cycles of rain — yet struggling to survive in a climate that is growing less and less predictable.