18 August 2023

Brooke helps communities impacted by devastating East Africa drought

Brooke has been assisting communities in Kenya, Somaliland and Ethiopia in recent months, after the Horn of Africa region was hit by its worst drought in 40 years.

Up to 95% of surface water sources have dried up across the Horn of Africa.

Despite improved weather conditions in July and August, communities are still being harmed by the long-term impacts of the drought, including widespread food and water insecurity. More than four million people are still in need of relief across the region, according to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA).

Three ways Brooke is helping communities and animals

1. Relief

Providing food, water and improving access to future sources.

2. Prevention

Preventing illness through de-worming programmes and parasite treatments for animals.

3. Resilience

Equipping vets, owners and other animal health workers with the resilience they need to keep their animals safe and healthy.

Long-term impact

The impact of the droughts is likely to last for a long time, so Brooke is working to provide relief now and build community resilience for the difficult months ahead.

Animal deaths in the Horn of Africa are at an all-time high. The UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) reports that an estimated seven million livestock animals have died from drought conditions. Animals relied on by farmers and their families.

Impacts on communities and working equines

1. Reduced access to water

Water sources such as rivers, lakes, and wells may dry up or become contaminated. This makes it difficult for communities to access safe drinking water for drinking and making food. This means their donkeys go thirsty too.

2. Limited availability of forage

Vegetation can become scarce, making it difficult for donkeys to find enough food to eat. This can lead to malnutrition and weight loss, preventing donkeys from working and transporting goods.

3. Increased workload

The fewer water sources there are, the further donkeys and their owners have to travel. This can increase their workload and lead to fatigue and exhaustion.

4. Health problems

Diseases such as anthrax and Rift Valley fever can become more prevalent, which can affect both humans and animals.

The drought is also driving communities to migrate in order to find better access to water and pasture for livestock to graze, which can result in conflict arising over the scarce resources. Even then, these new locations are still affected by the drought, and many animals die from making the strenuous journey.

The drought cycle in Africa’s Horn dates back to as early as 1974, growing in frequency and intensity as climate change and environmental degradation worsens. As the sixth consecutive failed rainy season, 22 million people in the region are currently at risk of starvation.