Maasai: East Africa Seeks United Regional Effort to Fight Killer Drought
In order to address the challenges effectively, we need to detail our cooperation and develop concerted sub-regional approaches and strategies that will create and environment favorable for socio-economic development," Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki told participants opening the 11th summit of the seven-nation Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Outgoing IGAD chairman, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, called for insurance for people affected by famine and to enhance regional trade as a means to stave off the effects of the scorching drought.
A Washington Post story on Monday meanwhile suggests that droughts and changing weather patterns are pushing more and more Africans into cities, putting pressure on already strained resources and changing cultural practices, from diet to marriage traditions. Masai herders trying to escape the drought are streaming into Nairobi, letting their cattle feed on the city's grassy traffic circles. The Masai are also building congested shantytowns to live in and wandering the city begging for jobs. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church in Kenya, which has helped coordinate relief efforts, has blamed the government for failing to prepare for the droughts. In recent weeks, several high-level officials have been accused of pocketing a total of $1.3 billion in public funds, money that critics say should have gone to irrigation projects.