Monday, October 12, 2009

Kenyan drought now killing camels

Shepherding and raising animals has been a popular occupation in Kenya. However, this year's drought has been killing many goats and is now killing camels. Many fear if these weather patterns continue or even worsen, this way of life will no longer exist.

From the BBC, Will Ross gives this account on the drought in Kenya.

Turkana district in north-west Kenya is a harsh environment at the best of times. Driving along the sandy roads with temperatures tipping 40C, the air coming through the car window feels like the blast from a load of hair-driers.

The landscape is desert-like and the only signs of life are the occasional circular mud huts thatched with grass. There is very little vegetation - just a few brown thorny shrubs.

In a dry river bed in Lochoraikey, close to the shrinking Lake Turkana, men and women gathered. The women were on one side - most wearing a mountain of brightly coloured necklaces.

They were sitting in the sand and lying among them were dozens of emaciated goats - concave with protruding ribs.

"I had a herd of 100 goats but just in the last month 40 have died," said Esther Ekouam, who had walked about 15km (10 miles) and had to carry her goat as it was too weak to make the journey.

"Now the children are very weak because, as the animals are dying, they are not getting enough food. This is the worst drought we have had here since 1969."

Ms Ekouam was propping up the head of her goat. But it appeared the animal was already dead.

The woman behind Ms Ekouam was gently rocking a white goat in an attempt to keep it alive. A closer inspection of the group revealed that several other goats were also dead.

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