A silent but deadly and urgent hunger crisis is unfolding in northern Kenya, and across the East Africa Region. We often talk about this tragedy through data, but the heartbreaking reality is that every number is a person, and every statistic points to impact on a human life. This week, elders in Marsabit and Turkana Counties in northern Kenya said that the current drought was far worse than during the East Africa and Horn of Africa Hunger crisis of 2017. That tells us so much.
As East Africa Regional Leader I accompanied World Vision Kenya leadership with Andrew Morley, WVI President and CEO, on his visit to northern Kenya from 22-23 March. It was there that we met Mary. “I have to feel the pulse of my children every night as they go to bed on empty stomachs…to check if they are still alive”, she heartbreakingly shared.
Mary lives in Civicon Village, Marsabit County. She spoke with us as she fed her four remaining animals (one calf and three goats) with ugali (maize meal) that she had cooked in a well-used pot. Mary divided the ugali in half - one half to feed her children, the other half to feed her remaining livestock. This was a desperate attempt to help both survive, as the livestock are a source of livelihood for the family. It was the first time in my life I have seen livestock eating cooked maize meal.