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Kenya drought: 'My son starved to death'

Monday March 25 2019

Turkana drought

An abandoned homestead at Kalapata in Turkana County, where a prolonged drought has left residents facing starvation, March 23, 2019. PHORO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BBC
By BBC
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In a remote village in north-western Turkana region, an old man, Loriaban Ngikolomo, leans on his stick, staring forlornly at a dried-up shrub on a mound of sand.

Beneath the shrubs his son is buried. After a few minutes, he trudges back to the shade of a near-barren cactus tree to rejoin his family.

Mr Ngikolomo says his son starved to death, though the government insists that no-one has died because of the drought which has hit northern Kenya.

He then painfully adds that he doesn’t mind starving because he has lived long enough, but he is desperate for his other children - who number at least 10 - to survive.

"I am worried about the children because of hunger. I can’t give them anything other than wild fruit, which is also getting depleted. If I don’t get any assistance, we are doomed," Mr Ngikolomo says.

His rib cage is visible. Days without food have made the days longer and hotter.

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It hasn’t rained for months in many parts of Kenya. The situation is particularly bad in this hot, remote and arid area of the country.

The drought has now put more than a million Kenyans at risk. The most vulnerable are the children and the elderly, but the Kenyan government has insisted the country has sufficient food and it will reach everyone in need.

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