Climate Canaries

The first victims of climate change? The nomadic pastoralists of northern Kenya

In conference rooms and in academic papers, the experts call it ‘pervasive pre-famine conditions’. In the village, squatting on his brick-sized wooden stool in the red dirt of east Africa, Lokuwam Lokitalauk calls it a death sentence. His curses ricochet round the quiet village and his glaucoma-misted eyes dart off, surveying the stick-like spectres of children drifting listlessly about.

“When I had my cows, I could afford three wives and I have 20 children”, he said. “The drought has killed my herd. All my cattle have died of thirst but I still have the wives and children, and now I can’t feed them. I should be out there with my cows grazing. “He waves a hand behind him to the crisp, cracked plains without turning his head: “But, here I am, I am weak now; I’m waiting to die.”

Category: Features

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