East Africa face famine triggered by drought news


The dire emergency in East Africa the drought they're exacerbating the hunger crisis. As many as 20 million people could be starving by the middle of this year, half of them children. 

East Africa face famine triggered by drought news
Credit: Image by third party

New numbers from aid organizations reveal this startling stat every second and additional person in East Africa is on the verge of starvation unless rain arrives.

 Our CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT Matt Gutman traveled to Kenya and files this in depth report.

It's hard work extracting calories from what looks like a stone all you eat all day as this eastern Africa is in the worst drought in decades. This is the only food cube and other villagers eat these days.

 It Kiru says he doesn't know his age, but he does know he's starving. Famine is stalking the sun blasted plains of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

 And according to age groups, up to 20 million people like Kiki roo don't know if they'll eat today or tomorrow. The majority of them are herders. 

East Africa face famine triggered by drought news
Credit: image by third party

It's estimated that more than 3 million livestock have died over the past two years. carcasses of cattle littering roadways, many too weak to rise to their feet. 

Giraffe dying by the dozen. And in 2020 and 2021. What little grazing there was devoured by swarms of locusts. We traveled to Turkana County in northern Kenya, with the International Rescue Committee.

 Were once dependable grazing land has yielded to wastelands of sand and dry river beds. This is the coast appear River in northern Kenya. 50,000 people depend on this river now, 

in a good year, I would be underwater. But this is not a good year. This is the fourth consecutive failed rains. And the people here are growing desperate. 

Over the past 20 years droughts have doubled in Kenya due to climate change. Despite its low contribution to global warming. 

Africa is the most vulnerable continent emissions from the rest of the world threatening nearly every aspect of life here. And the war in Ukraine has only made things worse driving up the price of food and fuel. 

Here it's up to $16 a gallon in a place where most people live on less than $1 a day. David, nice to meet you. Thank you. We met these community leaders who took us to what had been sorghum fields.

 This used to be a farm right here. This is the problem. They once grew crops in this sand, but no rain means no crops. If there are no crops here, now what do people eat? Nothing. 

Then we spotted those kids, including EQ carrying those heavy sacks on their heads. They were filled with that rock like fruit. There are now up to 22 million herders here in the Horn of Africa, 

whose livestock provide dairy products and meat. I asked Akira when he last ate something other than palm fruit. The other night, he said, when one of their goats died of starvation. 

Here in the Horn of Africa, children bear in enormous burden. They help herd livestock forage for food and they fetch water. It can take most of the day to roll those heavy yellow drums of water to a source, fill them and then push them back home.

We are talking about close to 2 million children in the region, which are severely acutely malnourished. We cannot say in words in terms of what it means for those individuals and families that are impacted by this crisis.

For these children hunger is as constant is that merciless sun? Kudo. They are on the ground bashing the previous day's Hall of palm fruit was their grandmother. 

This was to be dinner for the kids and the animals. How close is that to famine? Because to me when your only source of nourishment are these palm fruit that just doesn't seem sustainable.

 It is no protein. There's no fat, there's no need. There's no nutrients,

actually, it's just empty calories to keep going.

There's nothing else to eat right? Her name is Nick Alesso. She says she doesn't know much about the outside world. It's the realm beyond that she no worries about does it feel to you right now that God has forgotten you. 

She tells us it feels like God. He's gone far away. It kind of takes me to try to find their remaining ghosts. But there was something else out there. When you hear that sound of thunder. Does it make you hopeful? It feels very hopeful

that the rain is now coming.

This time the thunder brought a daily goats telling against the hot the first time it rained. In nearly two years. We soon realized the cruelty of these rains sporadic and localized, and what little has fallen has come two months too late.

We were hoping that this rain will be good enough, but this rain also failing and being below average will actually result in catastrophic consequences for the population.

A couple of hours west of there towards the Sudanese border is the Kakuma refugee camp. Dr. Sila monta runs the International Rescue Committee hospital there. She took us to what's called the stabilization ward.

Over the previous one month we've had an increase in admissions. We are currently on an average of 20 admissions a day.

The hearings are so small, we're so nervous that I didn't even see them. It just looked like bundles of blankets. Once hunger turns into mal nourishment, the fight back to health can take months.

Yes, the child is one year nine months and has been malnourished for about six months now. has been on the outpatient feeding therapeutic feeding program. But with minimal response, then over the past three days,

every three hours, a break from the monotony the milkman comes through. The mothers tenderly pour the formula into the children's mouths,

because they usually so malnourished, the whole body shuts down, that includes their digestive tract. So they're usually unable to digest food. So even giving them just plain milk, they aren't able to digest that.

Once a child system breaks down. It takes months to build back strength. We noticed this mother with twins or sister helping them. 

They said they had fled here from Congo are twins just five weeks old, they were barely even able to cry, but their mother could. 

Her name is Christine Denise. She told us she had five kids under five, she had run away from domestic violence and felt like now, there are no auctions

in itself. The Tucana region has been in a drought for the past one year. So even ourselves were unable to support our population.

And even when they get help, sometimes these children don't make it. So out of the 20 some kids that are in that room right now that we saw. 

Three are not going to make it statistically statistically, yes. These deaths take a toll on those whose job it is like Dr. monta to keep those children alive. You do this because you feel like you can help. 

But I thought you got emotional just now with that that mother didn't affect you personally. Two days after that big rain and Akira was village we traveled back there.

 Those villagers gathered to see what the commotion was about. Right there was a key group. His grandmother had just returned from fetching firewood. 

We sat there on the ground to hunt her son that seemed to boil the sand the children nearby. I heard that one of your goats died because of the rain. What does that mean for her family to go from 20 goats to eight?

Well, no, we're not gonna go. Now the family now that they don't have anything to depend on because initially they depend on both goats. And for now, now that they have lost the family. Now we suffer for

what happens when all of your animals die. Now cholesterol tells us that children will die. Maybe the rains will come? Maybe they won't. What's for sure, 

she said is that they're not going anywhere. The children they're waiting as they say, for God to remember them.

What a report from MADI if you want to help, you can head to our website ABC news.com where we've posted his story and links to organizations that are helping those struggling with East Africa's famine.

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