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Kenya Devastated by Massive Drought

Lindsey Hilsum of ITN reports from Kenya on the worst drought to strike the horn of Africa in more than a decade.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Next: the worst drought in a decade in the Horn of Africa.

    Lindsey Hilsum Independent Television News reports from Kenya.

  • And a warning:

    This story contains some graphic images.

  • LINDSEY HILSUM:

    Signs of death litter the ground, and its smell lingers in the air.

    Across Northern Kenya and beyond, severe drought has killed hundreds of thousands of cattle and goats. Even the wildlife is suffering. In the bed of the Uasin Giru River, dry for 10 months now, elephants desperately forage for water. The younger elephants have perished, and the Buffalo. The impala are dying of thirst.

    People are digging for water in the dry riverbed, trying to provide relief for both wild animals and domestic herds. They say they will have to dig down two meters to find a drop. The Samburu are trekking their cattle further and further, searching for pasture.

    This land hasn't seen rain for nearly a year. The cattle are just scratching around for something to eat, those that have survived. What local people say is that the seasons have become unpredictable. And climate change experts say, probably, that's the way it's going to be from now onwards: more drought followed by flooding, more extreme weather patterns. And the people who live in this arid part of Africa, dependent on their animals, are going to have to adapt.

    But they don't have the money to restock herds when they die, nor to build dams to conserve water when the rains come. The Kenyan government neglects this part of the country. And international appeals remain underfunded.

    The village of Mpagas is one of the worst-hit. The people here are barely surviving.

    LERIAN LAKANA, community elder: Since I was born, I have never seen such an extreme drought. Almost all the cattle have died, and the few still standing are dying now. I had 300 goats, but only 10 have survived. Of my eight donkeys, seven died, and the last one is dying now.

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