Drought Threatens Millions in Horn of Africa

A drought is killing livestock across a wide swath of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. i i

A drought is killing livestock across a wide swath of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Melody Kokoszka, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Melody Kokoszka, NPR
A drought is killing livestock across a wide swath of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

A drought is killing livestock across a wide swath of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Melody Kokoszka, NPR
A young mother brings her children to a food distribution point  in northeast Kenya.

A young mother brings her children to a food distribution point in northeast Kenya. Jason Beaubien, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jason Beaubien, NPR
Local water sources have dried up, forcing people to walk more than 40 miles to find water. i i

Local water sources have dried up, forcing people to walk more than 40 miles to find water and haul it back with their camels. Jason Beaubien, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jason Beaubien, NPR
Local water sources have dried up, forcing people to walk more than 40 miles to find water.

Local water sources have dried up, forcing people to walk more than 40 miles to find water and haul it back with their camels.

Jason Beaubien, NPR

The United Nations estimates that more than 6 million people are at risk of running out of food and water as a result of a drought that stretches across the Horn of Africa.

Historically, the only people who have managed to survive in this arid part of Africa are nomadic herders. They follow the rains and move their goats, sheep, cattle and camels across vast areas between Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

The Quiet Front

When the rains come, the plains sprout carpets of green grass. Now the plains are long stretches of dirt, interrupted at times by leafless thorn bushes.

According to Oxfam, 70 percent of the cattle and sheep in the region have died since December along with 20 percent of the donkeys and goats. This is occurring in an area where people rely almost entirely on the meat and milk of their livestock to survive.

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