Drought - PhMuseum


Kristof Vadino

2019 - Ongoing


The little boy came to me saying, 'I am hungry, I am hungry'. The boy lives in a small village in a torrid landscape. Nearby women were digging a hole in the sand of a dried out river bed. To find some mix of water and sand. They drunk it. Half of the village is sick of typhoïd because their animals also drink of the same source. They have no other option. I also saw the skin of cows torn apart. The population moans under a lack of water and most have to walk for miles every day to find water for themselves and their cattle. Animals get sick from claw, lose weight, and die. There is a food shortage because the amount of stored food is depleted more quickly. During the rainy season in May to August, heavy rains wash away the crops. As a result, people will go hungry from December on. To buy food at the local market, they sell charcoal. But many trees are chopped for that. It is a negative survival strategy. Less trees make the soil poorer.

The semi-arid regions in the Horn of Africa suffer more and more from intense droughts. Scientists say climate change is the main cause. The consequences for the population are hunger, thirst, sickness, migration and violence. The semi-nomadic populations have centuries long experience with surviving in difficult conditions. They do not depend on good harvests like the farmers. But both farmers and semi-nomads can hardly cope anymore with the fast recurrent droughts. The global warming is set to go on. The Farming Early Warning Systems Network warns for food crisis in the region. I will photograph the drought stricken regions and its population in the Horn of Africa. Especially focussing on the semi-nomadic pastoralists as they form the largest part of the population in the drought stricken regions.

Karamoja was disarmed in 2011 after years of conflict between various semi-nomadic groups. But due to the difficult survival in recent years, the tensions in certain places, such as in Kotido, flare up again. It is often about cattle being stolen. A major conflict rages also in South Ethiopia, in the Somali and Oromia regions. The Turkana from Kenya venture into Uganda to find some water and pasture land. All have to do with extreme weather events which enforce local problems and conflicts.

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