KENYA DROUGHT

04-May-2005
A five-year drought in Kenya's Northwestern Turkana district is resulting in a desperate struggle for survival amidst an increase of small-armed conflict. IRIN

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STORY: KENYA DROUGHT

TRT: 2.53

SOURCE: IRIN

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

LANGUAGE: CH 1 ENGLISH / NATS
CH 2 ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: APRIL 2005, TURKANA

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, Turkana Landscape
2. Various shots, Turkana village at Oropoi
3. Med shot, Turkana women at work
4. Wide shot, goat herder
5. Wide shot, drought scrub brush
6. Wide shot, dry river bed
7. Wide shot, water pump
8. Wide shot, Nomad with camel and shoats
9. Various shots, poverty
10. Wide shot, Lodwar town
11. Wide shot, Oxfam/WFP food relief warehouse
12. Med shot, Bags of corn for food relief
13. Wide shot, establishing shot of Kakuma hospital
14. Wide shot, establishing shot of children's ward
15. Med shot, of malnourished child
16. Med shot, Dr. Deirdre O'Gorman
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Deirdre O'Gorman:
"There are lots and lots of malnourished children out in the community. Only the very severe ones are admitted to hospital. At the moment there are maybe two, or three per day coming into hospital."
18. Med shot, goat herder with gun
19. Close up, gun in a tree
20. Med shot, tribal elders gathered under tree
21. Close up, Oxfam office sign
22. Med shot, George Otim
23. SOUNDBITE (English) George Otim, Oxfam's Humanitarian Projects Coordinator in Lodwar, Kenya:
"And now the biggest part is also conflict, now, because people are competing for the little available resources. So there is a lot of conflict, especially on the grazing, and also the raiding of the animals. That is basically the impact of this drought here."
24. Close up, gun trigger
25. Med shot, Turkana men with guns
26. SOUNDBITE (English) George Otim:
"If the situation continue, we're going to see more conflict, because people will be migrating into area were there will be pasture; there is going to be inter-ethnic conflict, where, even at the border area, also, people will be fighting and there will be resulting in a lot of death and a lot of orphans will be left."
27. Wide shot, conflict displacement settlement, Natiira.
28. Wide shot, Natiira hut scene
29. Wide shot, Turkana man with donkeys


STORYLINE:

Behind the majestic backdrop of Northwest Kenya's Turkana district lies a proud culture loosing a long-running struggle with its harsh environment.

Failure of seasonal rains since 1999 has choked Turkana's pastoralist-based society. As a result, Turkana is seemingly stuck in a revolving door of drought's devastating effects.

Most riverbeds have long-since dried up, and apart from relief agency sponsored bore holes, there is no water.

Herding livestock is the cornerstone of the Turkana's existence. If the rains fail again this year Turkana's nomads will be on life support, and a hopeless poverty will continue consuming them.

Since April of 2004 Turkana's urban settlement of Lodwar has been the staging ground for a food emergency relief campaign conducted by the international poverty eradication organization, Oxfam-GB, in partnership with the UN's World Food Program and the Kenyan government. Today, the relief effort continues to feed up to 60 percent of the population.

A mission hospital in Kakuma is acting as triage for diseases brought on by drought and poverty. Because of the food emergency, the majority of patients in the children's ward are suffering from TB, diarrhea and malnutrition.

Up to 30 percent of children less than five years in the Turkana district are malnourished as a result of the prolonged drought.

Dr. Deirdre O'Gorman is witnessing an alarming amount of under-weight children with weak immune systems fall prey to an endless cycle of illness.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Deirdre O'Gorman:
"There are lots and lots of malnourished children out in the community. Only the very severe ones are admitted to hospital. At the moment there are maybe two, or three per day coming into hospital."

Perhaps one of the worst outcomes of Turkana's 5-year drought is the rise of armed conflict, especially along the border region of Uganda. Increasingly, the Turkana are turning to the gun in a life and death battle to save their way of life. Skirmishes for scare watering holes, pasture, and livestock are a part of daily life here.

George Otim is Oxfam's Humanitarian Projects Coordinator in Lodwar, Kenya

SOUNDBITE (English) George Otim:
"And now the biggest part is also conflict, now, because people are competing for the little available resources. So there is a lot of conflict, especially on the grazing, and also the raiding of the animals. That is basically the impact of this drought here."

The Turkana have exchanged their traditional weaponry for bullets. And while the Turkana view the gun as their last measure of survival, the consequences of conflict are inescapably tragic.

SOUNDBITE (English) George Otim:
"If the situation continue, we're going to see more conflict, because people will be migrating into area were there will be pasture; there is going to be inter-ethnic conflict, where, even at the border area, also, people will be fighting and there will be resulting in a lot of death and a lot of orphans will be left."

Natirra is one such community orphaned by conflict. The residents here have lost their entire livestock to raiders. No food will grow in the dry earth, and they have little or no means of making money.

Despite the fact the Turkana are accustomed to a harsh existence, and are determined to preserve their way of life, serious doubt exits about their ability to survive if the drought continues.
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IRIN
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U050504c