Dry Season Fell in Africa

Dry season makes 11.7 million people on the continent of Africa vulnerable to food crisis. Based on a data released by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), more than 785,000 children in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda suffer from malnutrition in June.

ACTNews, TURKANA, MOGADISHU – Etika Loriaban recalled an incident that befell her the month before when her 14-year-old son died of malnutrition. She lived in Turkana Town in northwestern Kenya, where she didn’t have any food at all.

“We didn’t have decent food. We ate what we could, until he died,” Loriaban told Al Jazeera in an article released in March.

Food aid used to be subsidized by Kenyan authorities, from the capital Nairobi to Turkana. The latter town became one of 13 towns that were hit the hardest by Kenyan unforgiving drought. More than one million of its population were in dire need of food. Residents of half of the subdistricts in Turkana were starving.

Kenya was one of several countries in Africa that experienced food insecurity due to dry season, according to UN OCHA. From March to mid-May, rainfall intensity in Africa was less than 50% of Africa’s usual average rainfall intensity. To make it worse, countries that suffered from drought were also witnessing wars.

UN OCHA warned humanitarian crisis due to the dry season also happened in Somalia. As reported by Al Jazeera in early May, thousands decided to stay at the biggest refugee camp in Mogadishu. Their farmland endured crop failure, and their animal stocks died of dry weather.

Staying at the refugee camp was the best means to survive. More than the camp, groceries were also plenty in Mogadishu.

“We left our home and farmland because of the dry season and conflict. Our farmland was badly damaged due to drought,” said Aisha Ibrahim Yallow, one of Somali internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mogadishu, to Al Jazeera last May.

Now, approximately two and a half million people were added to the number of IDPs at Mogadishu refugee camp. They were banished from their homeland, due to conflict, drought, and lack of job. Most IDPs decided to live at refugee camps for a long time.

Drought also increased the risk of contagious diseases such as cholera, typhoid, diarrhea, and URTI (upper respiratory infection), and measles. Additionally, drought also threatened the security of children and women, since they had to take a long way to gather food and water. []