By Pablo Moraga
Maalimin, Kenya, Dec 2 (EFE).- Water has run dry in the Kenyan town of Maalimin and despite repeated appeals from NGOs, the worst drought in 40 years continues to spread across the Horn of Africa, leaving a trail of barren soil and famine.
The lack of water has killed all Zainab Mohammud’s goats. She had raised around 50 animals and would sell them at a local market.
The 32-year-old never made much money and used her profits to buy food or pay for the school fees of her six children. It was a humble life she misses now that she has nothing.
Mohammud glances over at one of his children, Abdirahim Bishar, who is very sick. The anxious father is waiting at the Maalimin health center, in Garissa county, after doctors diagnosed the child with acute malnutrition.
Mohammud visits the health center weekly to collect food supplements.
“Sometimes we go a day or two without eating. The children cry, but I can’t do anything,” Mohammud mutters in a small voice.
“I have no income after my animals died of thirst,” Mohammud adds.
Dozens of women crowd around a table in a chaotic queue, waiting to talk to a doctor.
Many carry very thin, malnourished children in their arms.
Health care workers work tirelessly and take measurements of the infants.
The overcrowded clinic is just the tip of the iceberg and the data is discouraging.
According to Kenyan government, over 4 million Kenyans are starving and need humanitarian aid.
According to Save the Children, at least 942,000 children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition, a condition that weakens the immune system placing infants at risk of contracting other diseases or even death.
But, amid the grim outlook, doctors say Abdirahim is making a fast recovery: the circumference of his arm has increased in recent weeks, a hopeful sign.
DESPAIR AND ARMED ATTACKS
“People who still have cows or goats have gone to other counties in search of water. Only those of us who lost everything have stayed. Now we depend on charity from NGOs,” Hibo Mohammed tells Efe.
Mohammed, like his neighbors, uses meager savings to buy water from merchants who transport it in tankers from the Tana River, over 100 kilometers south of Maalimin.
“The climate crisis is to blame for this situation. Pollution from rich countries is changing the climate. But it is also our own responsibility. Instead of helping each other, we are killing each other, we are oppressing each other, which is making God angry,” he laments.