Posts Tagged ‘Drought’

Sahel Food Crisis: A Refugee’s Story

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

By Helen Blakesley

Refugee camp

Fadimata Walet Haiballa (in blue) is a refugee living in the camp in Fererio, northern Burkina Faso. Her husband was killed in the violence in northern Mali, so she fled with her 3 children. Photo by Helen Blakesley/CRS

Fadimata Walet Haiballa is a 49-year-old Tuareg woman from Gao in Mali. She’s been living in Fererio temporary refugee camp, Burkina Faso for nearly 6 months now. Her husband was killed in the violence in the North of their home country. She fled with her three children, her 82 year-old father and other family members, traveling for two days to reach neighboring Burkina Faso. She’s the women’s representative on the camp committee.

The militia rebels spread terror in our region. They would harass us, knock things from our hands … and worse. There were bombings, executions. I lost my husband in one of the bombings. We had to leave. We were terrified.

I left all I had behind. Life has changed completely. Back in Mali, before the troubles, we were in our big, beautiful house. We lived in good conditions. We didn’t know fear, we didn’t have this hot sun beating down on us. I had the father of my children with me. Now we’re here in the dust, with the sun. We’re thirsty, we’re surviving on mediocre food. So a lot has changed. Above all, my work, my job, with which I could feed and clothe my children, that’s all gone.

A Hungry Childhood

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Kenya Hunger

Peter Kimeu is a small-scale farmer in Machakos, Kenya, and a technical adviser for Catholic Relief Services, a humanitarian organization. Photo by Sara A. Fajardo / CRS

Hunger is an unforgivable disease because it is the easiest one to cure. It is devastating to wake up in the morning and look east, west, south and north and see that there is nothing green that you can chew. During a drought everything goes yellow and dry. I would walk the roads and search the ground to see if someone had spat out a bit of chewed-up sugar cane. I am not ashamed to say that I would re-chew what I would find. Hunger is dehumanizing. It gets to a level where you do not know how you will survive and you will do anything for a simple kernel of corn.

The thing about drought is that it does not just affect farmers and their crops; it affects everyone. If you think about it, during harvest time farmers hire local farmhands to help with their crops. But when there are no crops to harvest, not only does the farmer lose his or her income, so do the laborers the farmer would have hired. There is a ripple effect that affects the whole community. Few have food and even fewer have money to buy food.

Peter Kimeu’s opinion piece about growing up hungry was published in the September 11 edition of the New York Times.

Hungry Somalis Flood Kenyan Refugee Camp

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011
Somali refugees

These Somali refugees at one of several refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya, are among many families who faced starvation and left Somalia on foot. Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

They’ve walked for days or weeks, and their shoes show it. Dusty and worn, the sandals of a little boy dangle in his hand as he wails in the center of a refugee camp.

Nearby, his mother rocks her sobbing baby. The family has made it to the camp, one of several in northeast Kenya that are receiving a flood of refugees from Somalia.

“We had livestock like sheep, goats, and cattle-over a dozen,” says a 22-year-old mother named Momina. “They all died of the drought.”

“We used to eat corn,” she continues. “But food was running out. So we left.”

Drought Brings Hunger to Kenya

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Debbie DeVoe, CRS regional information officer in East Africa, reports on the devastating impact of drought and high food prices in Kenya.

Kenya food

Although food is available in local shops, many Kenyans simply can’t afford to buy any. CRS vouchers are enabling the neediest families to purchase two to three weeks worth of supplies.. Photo by Debbie DeVoe/CRS

Finally, food and fuel prices are starting to drop across the globe. But in many countries these price drops have yet to reach the average person trying to survive during these hard times. And in East Africa, where drought is desiccating fields across the region, some families have no food stocks left and no idea where their next meal will come from.

This was the case last week for Virginia Nzyoka and her household of 12. Virginia, at 28 years old, lives with her husband and their five children. She also takes care of four young relatives who are now orphans, as well as her disabled grandfather.