Water levels start to decrease. Well, that’s just understandable since water levels vary according to the season. However, this time around, the trees also start to wither a few weeks later. The state of life remains comfortable as most households have enough providence from the land gathered from previous harvests. Several weeks later, all watersheds turn into filthy mud but still, the inhabitants cherish the resource since it is now all that is left.
Livestock – goats, sheep, cows, camels, and oxen – all begin to look ravaged by the hunger as they become skinny and skinnier. By now, all stomachs are insanely hungry but still, nothing can quench the insatiable hunger for fresh bread and meat thus, the only option is to chew into the remnants of the once-mighty trees. One, two, three, five hundred, uncountable. That is the number of carcasses that are now sprawled in the face of the fields as the drought waxed the land a great deal.
As if this is not enough, more countries continue to be engulfed by this monster: Nigeria, South Sudan, and even Somalia, causing an outrage which threatens more than 20 million lives. According to the international aid officials, this is the worst crisis to have endangered human lives. From the previous drought and famine outbreaks, there has been one primary lesson: it is always about water and not food. With inadequate water, hazardous diseases break out quite easily.
Suddenly there has to be a race to have people supplied with basic sanitation equipment such as soap, clean water delivered to camps, digging of toilets and also equipping with water treatment technology. A word from the United Nation has it that a large sum of money is required to strategize a response. Even with all hands on deck, they fall short of the target with billions of dollars. Nonetheless, aid officials say that there is an abundance of water resources. But wait, the continuing wars will prevent the same resources from reaching the hard hit areas. All this while, the price of a 20-liter jerry can which cost 4 cents is now being sold at 42 cents in central Somalia. This sounds like peanuts but the average wage a day is less than a dollar and what used to be your pride is now a bag of bones lying in the dust.
Thousands are left homeless by a pestilence originating from dirty water and poor hygiene in Northern Nigeria. The unending battle for supremacy between the Islamist militia and the Nigerian military continues and leaves more people running for the hills. In South Sudan, rebel forces and government forces purpose to block emergency food and taking hostage food trucks, as said by aid administrators. Malaria outbreaks deplete communities because they live next to a swamp with lotus plants, which they eat for survival and quench their thirst by worm infested water.
Within South Sudan and Somalia, pastures are being consumed yet there are few cars and almost no industry. Getting clean water and food in these areas is hard since everything was scorched by the sun and die. It’s like looking for a needle in a hay stack. Aid officials have fought to come up with an answer; resilience. As they defined it, this is the ability to withstand harsh conditions and adapt to your environment.
To this effect, many programs including livestock insurance and better water management started rolling in Africa. However, some officials saw this as patronizing Africa, as though Africans were made to suffer. Nonetheless, resilience programs bloom. Still, another crisis was underway. Ms. Thomas, a UNICEF water, and sanitation professional said that a recent discovery had been ascertained. Famine, this time round was not in the normal drought-stricken areas where food was scanty, but in urban areas that are crowded although there was plenty of food for all, relatively.
As stated, these crowded areas are a hothouse of communicable diseases such as cholera, bacterial infections that cause ugly diseases, and extreme diarrhea and dehydration. Cholera is spread via the fecal-oral route. Malnutrition took its toll on many people. Children were specifically prone to the disease and are badly affected.
According to Ms. Thomas, people will crowd towns to look for help, which they may not receive, and start forming camps. This creates a vicious cycle of death as more are killed by poor hygiene. If people are then asked what the cause of death is, they would say: it is the drought.
Has enough been done to offset the famine?
Is it possible the famine is due to countries not heeding to warnings of climate change?
What can you as an individual do to help those starving in Africa?