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Event Details

Drought event report

Category: Drought
Observation: 16.06.2008
Continent: Africa
Country: Kenya
State: Rift Valley
Area: Communities is the Masai
Severity: Hight
Event details
Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of thousands of people in Kenya. One of the hardest hit communities is the Masai. Up to 80 percent of those living in Magadi, in southern Kenya, have lost their cattle due to drought, which is becoming more frequent as a result of global warming. Water is becoming harder to find and in many places grass has stopped growing, leaving no food for cows. There is a community of around 4,000 Masai in Magadi who depend on cows as their main source of food and income and while some efforts have been made to get water to them, the effects of global warming are too fast to catch up with, according to experts. In this three-part series from Africa, we look at how three Masai families are coping with climate change and how it has affected their economic stability. He has 10 children and two wives to feed and fears that the 50 cattle he has left will also soon die. Lakes near his village have dried up and he says the grass that grows there is sparse and a variety that is not sufficient for cows to graze on. Having spent decades in the village of Ndope he warns that the changes he has seen in the weather and in his village look set to get worse. Nasha Shinini is a single mother of four who is struggling to survive. Her husband left the family in search of work in Tanzania after their cows died in the village of O Lesorian in Magadi. Nasha has no income and has to support four children on her own. The effect of climate change in her village has claimed the lives of the entire herd of cattle and has made collecting wood supplies a cumbersome task as continued drought devastates the land they live on. Nasha struggles to feed her family and they often go to bed hungry. Gladys Sekento was forced to move to the capital, Nairobi, because of drought in her village. Frequent dry weather in some rural areas has severely affected food and water supplies for cattle, a main source of income for Masai families. Those affected by drought have started to move to the capital, according to Practical Action, a local non-governmental organisation. Masai people have set up homes wherever they can, bringing the cattle they have left. While the capital is greener than her village in southern Kenya, Gladys says life is expensive. The Masai people also face discrimination for trying to keep their traditional pastoral life alive in the big city.
Event map:
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