They can only wait and hope for rain
THE PEOPLE in Mandera county, an area in the far north-east of the country which borders Ethiopia and Somalia, have been among the hardest hit by the drought blighting the region.
Access to food and water has become increasingly difficult, causing enormous problems for both the villagers and their livestock.
World Jewish Relief has teamed up with an NGO called Racida (Rural Agency for Community Development and Assistance) to provide supplies of water. The money raised by the UK Jewish community is paying for the trucks to transport water.
Women and children in the village of Malkaruqa crowd round as a truck pulls up and the fresh water is transferred into empty tanks. There are 361 households in Malkaruqa, each with around six to eight family members. The community has four water tanks, although only one is functioning. There is also an earth-pan which collects rain-water for people to drink and give to their livestock. In normal weather the tanks and the earth pan supply the community with enough water for up to four months, which gets them through the dry season until the rains come again.
However, the rains didn’t come this year and the tanks and earth pan are completely empty. The community has been left with no water and no access to food and, as their crops fail and their animals die, they are watching their livelihoods disappear.
Halima Mohamed Salat, a young mother of six, has been travelling to Hulow, a town 13km away to collect just 20 litres of water. She had to hire a donkey cart to make the journey.
Even with the aid, Halima and her children still have only one meal a day, consisting of rice or maize. As her goats are no longer producing milk, she and her family are forced to exist on black tea. Halima said: “We can only wait for the rain and hope that there will be enough pasture for the animals so there will be milk for us. In the meantime, I only wish you keep saving our lives.”
Mireille Flores (left) is a WJR aid worker