The Horn of Africa Drought

Cattle Herding - Kicheche, Jarrod Kyte

You will have doubtless seen the distressing images from the Horn of Africa where a prolonged drought is causing a severe food crisis in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. The long rains have failed for two seasons in this area, which combined with the effects of civil war in Somalia has resulted in close to 10 million people currently surviving on food rations. In desperate need of food and water, thousands of families have trekked for days from Somalia to refugee camps in north eastern Kenya and Ethiopia. The UN has described the situation as a “humanitarian emergency”.

Understandably, we have had several phone calls from clients asking how badly the drought has affected Kenya as a whole. This is not surprising given that some elements of the media are reporting the situation as if the drought had spread throughout the whole of Kenya and in some cases, the whole of East Africa. These reports are far from the truth. In reality the drought is localised - albeit across a large area and with devastating effect - to the northern part of Kenya, on the borders with Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. Areas like the Masai Mara, Laikipia and Amboseli are not experiencing drought conditions. I visited the Masai Mara in late June and witnessed lush, green plains teeming with wildlife looking in excellent health. The Maasai people I spoke to were disturbed by the situation in the north but were keen to stress that life must go on in the rest of Kenya and were keen to encourage tourists not be put off visiting their country.

The full extent of this humanitarian crisis is still unfolding and it is clear that Kenya faces a challenging time ahead as it attempts to give shelter to its people in the north and the diaspora fleeing Somalia and beyond. One may feel uncomfortable holidaying in a country dealing with such human misery however it is clear that Kenya will need the revenue it generates through tourism (and more), if it is to help alleviate the suffering on its borders.

To discuss your concerns or queries regarding the East Africa drought, please contact Jarrod on 01285 643 333.


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