Published on 21st February 2014

Environmental migrants: the last illusion. Kenya, Nairobi

  • Kenya, Turkana Region. A shepherd of the Turkana tribe with his light machine-gun, looking for grazing land for his flock, along the border between Kenya and Ethiopia, in proximity of the Todonyang village.

  • Kenya, Turkana Region. A mass grave where catholic priests of the Saint Paul Mission have buried about a hundred victims of tribal fights for the control over grazing land and water supplies around the Todenyang village, along the borders between Kenya and Ethiopia. In this area Kenya’s Turkana tribe and Ethiopia’s Marille tribe fight on a daily basis. A notice on a cross that says “28 people”: it indicates the number of people that have been buried and that have died in the course of a single ferocious fight.

  • Kenya, Turkana Region, Lobei village. Loduung Elimlin, a 50 years old shepherd from the Turkana tribe, photographed with his machine-gun. He’s been involved in many fights with the neighbouring Pokot tribe for the control over the limited quantity of grazing land and water supplies. He’s been shot off twice; the first time on his hand (he’s lost two fingers), the second time on his arm.

  • Kenya, Nairobi. A boy walking out of a hut with videogames in the slum of Kibera.

  • Kenya, Nairobi. Rukia, 28 years old, pensive on the bed in her hut in the Kibera slum.Rukia has been living in Kibera since she emigrated from the Turkana region because of weather changes and drought. With the passing of the years, as droughts grew worse, the animal number halved, tribal fights increased, for the control over the rough grazing land along the borders between Kenya and Ethiopia. Fear for tribal fights, and drought led Rukia to immigrate to Nairobi.

  • Ethiopian Kenyan border. The inhabitants of Seis village burning brushwood and covering it with ground to create smoke – they are thus trying to turn away the nauseating smell of the carcasses of animals that are dead because of the drought and that lie around the village.

  • Ethiopian-Kenyan border. In the village of Seis a shepherd of the Marille tribe skins a cow that have just died because of the drought – he will use this as a bed.

  • Kenya, Nairobi. Rose and her two kids, in the hut where they live in Kibera. Rose, 34 years old. She is from the Amagoru village, in the Turkana province, one of the areas that suffered the most from the drought. She decided to immigrate to Nairobi with her husband and their six children after all her animals have died of hunger and thirst. A few months after she arrived in the Kibera slum, her husband left her by herself: he didn’t want to live in such a misery. Rose was left alone with six children to feed: the youngest of them is 2 years old, the oldest is 13. Rose only has occasional jobs and her kids often need to pick up metal bits in the Nairobi landfills, and sell them to help their mom.

  • Ethiopian-Kenyan border. A shepherd of the Turkana tribe with his light machine-gun, was looking for grazing land for his flock but suddenly he has spotted a possible enemy from the Ethiopian tribe of the Marilla and he is preparing to fight.

  • Kenya, Nairobi. A man sleeps lying on the floor. Mathare slum is in the background, with its distinctive smoke of burnt rubbish, which saturates the air day and night. Mathare is Nairobi’s second slum; 500,000 people live here, in an area where iron huts alternate with buildings with rooms that host tens of people.

  • Kenya, Turkana Region, Lobei village. The picture shows Edipo, 23 years old, from the Turkana tribe. Edipo has a serious deformity, which was caused by a night attack by the Pokot tribe to the Nakwapetet village, where about fifty people used to live. The Pokot fired and shot wildly; a lot of people died while Edipo was mangled.

  • Kenya, Turkana Region. A drained water well in a territory which is almost totally deserted, it is the only spring of drinking water for thousands of people. Fear for tribal fights for the control over the limited quantity of grazing land and water supplies, the drought and the lack of future perspectives led many people leaving the region and immigrate to the slums of Nairobi.

  • Kenya, Nairobi. A view of the slum of Kibera where many environmental migrants fleeing their lands because of climate changes and drought go to live. According to a study by UNHABITAT, about 74% of environmental migrants living in Nairobi arrived between 1991 and 2008, in conjunction with the embitterment of weather conditions, drought, and floods that constantly hit Kenya’s rural areas.  

  • Kenya, Nairobi. Sharon pensive in her iron hut in Nairobi’s Kibera slum. The drought, which year after year halved her harvest of fruit and vegetables, has forced her to abandon her village. She immigrated to the city with her two kids where she settled in an iron hut in Kibera, the biggest slum in Nairobi, where about one million people live in inhuman hygienic conditions.

  • Kenya, Nairobi. A daily life scene in the cramped streets of the slum of Kibera where many environmental migrants fleeing from the countryside because of climate changes and drought go to live. 

Environmental migrants: the last illusion. Kenya, Nairobi


Tagged with:
  • africa
  • kenya
  • turkana
  • nairobi
  • kibera
  • environment
  • migrant
  • climate change
  • famine
  • drought