US first lady Jill Biden got an up-close look at the historic East Africa drought as she walked along arid land and listened as some Maasai women described how their children and livestock are going hungry.
She appealed for more countries to join the United States to help alleviate the suffering. Some areas of the Horn of Africa have endured five consecutive failed rainy seasons, meaning there was no rainfall or an insufficient amount to help farmers with their crops and livestock.
An upcoming sixth rainy season, beginning in March, is expected to be about the same or worse.
Ms Biden, who was on the final day of a five-day visit to Africa, toured an outreach centre in the town of Lositeti, three hours’ drive south of the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
She chatted with people who had brought their children to be screened for malnutrition and she participated in a discussion with a group of women, including a mother of 10 children, who shared their stories.
“They talked about how their livestock are dying. Obviously, you can see the drought here, how bad it is,” the first lady said.
“The one source of water here feeds 12 villages and each village has approximately a thousand to 1,200 people.
“So the people are coming to get water, they’re bringing their livestock to get water. But unfortunately, for many of them, the way they make their living is from their livestock and for most of them, the livestock are dying, so they’re having a hard time,” Ms Biden said.
Nearly 23 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are thought to be highly food insecure, which means they do not know where they will find their next meal, according to a food security working group chaired by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.