I had been told that Garufa village in eastern Kenya had been particularly hard-hit by the drought. This becomes all too clear as we approach the village which is littered with animal carcasses.Around 200 families have left Garufa in search of food and water since the start of the drought and at least 50 of them have fled to refugee camps.
A 70-year-old man in Garufa, who did now want to give his name, explained:
Tomorrow me and a group of 20 people are leaving for the refugee camp. I have never left my home before and I don’t want to go but I feel that I have no choice.
Roney Shuriye is a 70-year-old woman from Garufa who points to her last goat laying listless in her compound. A man struggles to lift it to its feet but it falls back down.
Roney has lost a total of six cows and sixty goats and sheep in the past three months. "Our children are suffering from diarrhoea and lack of food. Our livestock is dying. I lost all my animals. You can see my last goat is there and it is weak, about to die," she says. ActionAid is not yet active in Garufa, but plans to start work there as soon as we have enough funds to do so. I'm thinking:
It’s heartening to see what a difference it makes where we work.
Garufa is comparable both in size and demographics to Badana - a village in Eastern Province where ActionAid Kenya has been distributing food since the first signs of the drought back in December 2010. Over the years Badana has also been host to ActionAid school feeding, water irrigation, water tracking and many other programs helping the community to cope better with the recurring droughts.
Both communities are made up of Muslim pastoralists originating from Somalia and Ethiopia. They are both facing one of the harshest droughts ever to hit the region, but are coping with the situation in startling different ways. In Badana, ActionAid is now drilling a new borehole and has stepped up its emergency food relief programme from 70 to 100 per cent of the population. This is in complete contrast to Garufa, where people have had to flee to other regions of the country or to Somali refugee camps in order to find food. I point out this difference to Enrico who’s been working as ActionAid Kenya’s Regional Coordinator for over six years.
It is during these extreme circumstances that the impact of our work stands out most
ActionAid Kenya needs £1.5 million to expand its work into villages like Garufa to help women like Roney. Please donate now
As Enrico says: “We need to go about addressing the emergency situation, and not only in the areas where we are currently working. If we were to leave out neighbouring areas we would create potential for conflict by providing resources to one community next to another that receives nothing.”