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The sun is very hot. The air is still and appears to amplify the intensity of the 

sun. The ground is sun-scorched and bare and the soil under foot as hot as a 

cooking oven. Bad smell from the carcass of the animals swept away by the ongoing drought 

is scartered by the road side and under trees not far from the homesteads.

Dogs and Crows flying over the homesteads feeding on the animal Carcass.

There is no source of water around the place all that can be seen is dried old 

boreholes caused by the ongoing drought in the area that has forced a change 

of the old community lifestyle to another life that seems hard to accept for 

they only depend on pastoralism.

A few Kilometres off-road in an open and vast land is homesteaded with few 

people, some sleeping under a shade and others in front of their manyattas. From an old hurt is Shake Wario Huka, 60, with her three grandchildren sitting

front of their Manyatta at midday with stone at hand to break a wild fruit in 

order to feed her children and the young ones of a goat who are desperately 

waiting to grab their share. 

‘Kone’ a Borana name for a Doum palm fruit found in the Hyphaenia 

compressa tree which is one of the most common plants in El-Isako Mala 

the region that has the potential to provide an alternative livelihood becomes rare 

to find as human beings, livestock and wild animals compete to feed on them

due to the ongoing Drought. We look for wild fruits known as ‘Kone' in the bushes so that we can prevent 

hunger pangs both for our own consumption and the young ones of a goat, 

The fruits are bitter and abit salty but at the moment we have no otherwise,” 

said Shake. Drivers of acute food insecurity in the region include the compounding effects 

of poor and erratic rainfall and desert locust infestation which was among the 

effects that worsened the situation in El-Isako Mala.

“I had my last meal three days ago. I am not sure of the next meal. There is no 

need to continue living in such a situation,” says Shake through an interpreter.

"The situation is very dire and there is a need for an immediate response" she 

added. The frail, elderly man, 67, is at home—inside his dilapidated hut to be exact, mr 

Wario Huka who later explained that he was unable to sleep due to hunger

Is among thousands of pastoralists who lost their livestock in the escalating 

drought, Wario Huka the husband to Shake says that the wild fruits is the only 

thing that they survive with as food. "I had 50 Sheeps and goats but now they have all been depleted i dont know 

how our life is going to be in the future, we only depend on our livestock for 

income and education for our children" said Wario.

He says that among the many sheeps and goats he has only been left with 5 

and they fear they might not survive the ongoing drought. I can't help but think about the future of these communities. Can El-Isako 

Mala's remaining livestock and those of other pastoralists survive another 

drought? Will the seasonal rains ever return? " he added.

Despite that there is a school a few kilometres from the Households children 

don’t go because of lack of food which the parents say that they lack 

concentration in school forcing them to go help in fetching water and Doum 

palm Fruit (Kone) in the dried Rivers about 7-15 kilometres. My grandchildren are just staying at home for now because of hunger that we 

don’t know how long it will last, its something we have never experienced the 

other years, this seems worst” Said Wario.

According to Isacko Jirma the Director Caritas Marsabit the situation is dire 

and alot need to be done to regulate the effects of famine in the region.

He said that there is no much support from the government in controling the 


“The area has experienced three failed rainfall seasons hence the situation 

makes the community live in deplorable state. The community here depends on 

livestock entirely for their livelihoods therefore things now are worse” He said 

that when Caritas Marsabit visited the area to offer humanitarian aid. It is estimated that nearly 200,000 people in the whole county are in need of 

humanitarian aid.