‘I have nothing to feed my family’: Famine, starvation crisis in East Africa
16 March, 2017
“I have nothing to feed my family,” Gedie says. She is a single mother of 8 children.
As she sits inside her grass hut, she describes the urgency of her situation. Failed rains have caused her gardens to wither and livestock to die.
With training from ADRA, Gedie used to grow enough vegetables for her family, and sell leftovers for income. She was independent and self-sufficient.
“Since 2013 when ADRA Kenya trained and supported me, I have been able to harvest enough spinach, kale and tomatoes to feed my family and sell the surplus to my neighbors and use the money to buy other cereals.
“Life has been good,” Gedie says.
But not anymore. Gedie has run out of food for her family. The United Nations has described this as the largest humanitarian crisis since the UN was founded in 1945.
“At times we have to skip meals as there is nothing to cook.
“My daughter and I have to borrow food from the shop on credit, walk long distances to fetch water and firewood for sale in order to repay debts,” Gedie says.
“Over the last three months my family had to sell two goats at a throwaway price due to prolonged drought in order to buy food.”
She points to an emaciated goat near her hut. “See what drought has done to my livestock? I have nothing to feed my family.”
Gedie is not alone. More than 20 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria and Yemen are facing famine and starvation as the region faces an unprecedented disaster.
ADRA’s monthly food rations have commenced and are already saving lives, helping enable Gedie to prepare her farm for when the rain arrives.
“It is more than a joy that my family has received 30kgs of rice, 10 kgs of beans, 5 litres of cooking oil and a packet of salt (0.5kg) this month and there is hope for the next two months. This food will supplement the little we have and my family may not skip meals for the rest of the month.
“More so, we have received the food we like very most the rice, beans and much cooking oil which we can use to prepare our local Ajera pancake.
“With this food my family will not have to sell our remaining three goats or have to borrow food from the shop on credit. Now my daughter and I will have time to prepare our gardens as we await the rains.”
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