Droughts in Africa Causing Severe Famine

 Samantha Stoll  , Staff Writer

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In the southern parts of Africa, the rainy season has been delayed and the dry season is lasting longer, causing severe issues for all. Due to the longer dry season, people can’t grow crops and the main source of income, which is livestock, is becoming a more difficult industry. Normally, agricultural workers replenish their stores during the rainy season which brings food, healthy crops, and livestock, and people are able to eat meat multiple times a week and also have a surplus of water.

Most of Africa’s people live off the rivers and wells and use them for survival. According to National Geographic, by 2070 there will be a 10 to 20 percent decrease in rainfall. That decrease in rainfall not only lowers Africa’s water supply, but also makes the land infertile and leaves no water to help crops grow. Certain countries near the equator only get 10 to 20 percent rainfall, so their whole supply of water will be depleted as the rain decreases and the land dries up. According to National Geographic, “In parts of northern Africa, river water levels would drop below 50 percent,” which would be devastating for all life. Rivers are home to many different types of wildlife, so the major decrease would not only affect the people, but also many natural habitats.

Pastoralists are most at risk from these severe droughts. Pastoralists are nomadic people who move where the land is most desirable. They find their own food and supplies, they build huts, and they are moving frequently. Many tribes are getting infected with cholera, flu, and malaria. These people depend on natural sources of water like rivers and wells, but as the drought continues and temperatures rise, these rivers and wells are drying up and there’s not enough rain to replenish them. Normally they move twice a year, but due to the weather they had to move six times in six months. It’s also very hard on these people because they don’t receive support and health benefits from the government. Oxfam, a global organization that works to end poverty, says they have witnessed entire communities on the move, desperately searching for water and pasture, chasing rains that have been predicted but have yet to happen.

Another big problem is not being able to find clean water. People are drinking brown water full of bacteria and dangerous toxins. Drinking unclean water causes a variety of diseases, and human bodies can’t function properly without the nutrients from hydration. Also, since Africa isn’t getting enough water, it’s difficult to keep livestock hydrated and healthy. People lost half their livestock population during these droughts, which greatly reduces how much food and money they can make.

Water is one of the main sources of people’s everyday lives. It’s impossible to have a functioning society without water. For people who cannot simply just go to a local grocery store to buy a gallon of water, natural sources are incredibly important. During these hard times, people are struggling with meeting basic needs and having basic everyday supplies to survive. It’s important we support those suffering from this drought. Water is life, after all.