As the dire conditions in the Horn of Africa continue to afflict the lives of over 13 million people across Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti, tens of thousands in Somalia alone have lost their lives.
Also affected have been livelihoods, with livestock farmers such as those in Kenya now struggling for survival, as are the animals themselves, especially due to the severe lack of water and grazing land.
Shem Otoi Sam – Environmentalist, Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (M): Some of Kenya, the people there are pastoralists, which means their livelihood depends on livestock. Livestock depends on water and pasture, but some have taken five years without rain, so the communities always have conflict over water points. So it forces the government to deploy police force there, but to protect the water points and to guard the people from shooting them, they have guns. So it’s a serious crisis.
VOICE: While the Kenyan Ministry of Water had budgeted relocations of bore holes in various parts of the country, experts like environmentalist Mr. Shem Otoi Sam say it is still not enough as a long-term solution.
Dr. Woldeamlak Bewket of Ethiopia suggests that people's cooperation in reducing livestock production could drastically help ease the drought’s impacts.
Dr. Woldeamlak Bewket – Environmental scientist, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia (M): Reducing dependence on livestock products and changing consumption patterns into greens and vegetarian sort of food habits will contribute significantly to climate change mitigation and also to reduce the demand for fresh water resources.
It will be very difficult to sustain our food habits of consuming so much animal products given the limited fresh water elsewhere. So from the point of view of water management, saving water, and reallocating it for other productivity purposes, changing our consumption from livestock products to vegetable products helps a lot.
Shem Otoi Sam (M): The other bit of this is why must people consume meat when it’s all that deadly? People should adapt to the vegan lifestyle which is very healthy, low cholesterol in the body, the people will live long and the environment will be very friendlier, yes.
VOICE: We thank Mr. Sam and Dr. Woldeamlak Bweket for your information and concern in seeking solutions to the urgent water crisis in the Horn of Africa. Our prayers for gentle rain and bounteous harvests to ease the suffering of millions, and the urgent transition to the organic vegan way that will conserve water while sustaining all lives and the planet.
As during an August 2011 videoconference in the US, Supreme Master Ching Hai has often spoken of the alarming ways that the livestock industry is wasting our fresh water supplies, at a perilous cost to humans.
Sources: ABC, Trust.org