The Samburu communities we work with have been deeply affected by the Horn of Africa drought. Hunger and disease have made the people of Samburu extremely vulnerable. Only generous outside assistance can stave off a serious humanitarian crisis.
The situation is almost certain to deteriorate as more and more animals die. Pastoral communities rely exclusively on their livestock for milk and meat - the mainstays of their diet - or to be sold at market to bring in money for food and other essentials.
The toll the drought takes on communities is complex. As herds dwindle, human malnutrition soars and resilience to disease disappears. Health deteriorates. School attendance declines. Income vanishes with the wholesale destruction of livestock. Family systems break down. Warriors drive herds up to 100 km in search of water and grazing while other family members trek to food distribution centres. The trading centres in Samburu District are flooded with people looking for help. Desperate people in crowded housing is a classic mix for the transmission of HIV.
SAIDIA’s work has greatly increased as we respond to this challenge. In addition to maintaining the mobile outreach programs, we are increasing treatment for drought-related illnesses and referrals of severely ill children to hospitals. While we play an important role monitoring the situation for the Kenya government, the UN and NGOs, we are not directly involved in supplementary feeding as other agencies are responsible for this.
Intensive community care will be needed for many months to come. Once the drought eventually breaks, epidemics of severe malaria will accompany the rains because entire populations have been weakened by hunger and disease. As part of our drought recovery assistance we will launch an animal restocking program amongst the most severely affected families to help put them back on their feet.
We urgently need your donations so that the communities we serve can survive this time of crisis.