I was intending to post something about the water shortage we are currently facing in England. Despite the rain of the past few days, water supplies remain desperately low. So some measure of personal responsibility is required on our part. Perhaps mosque committees would be wise to encourage us to do wudu (ablution) without the tap turned on full. In any case, it’s just good practice that we think about the water we use.
Anyway, I say “I was intending to”, because more pressing news of a drought in the Horn of Africa is now reaching us fast, at last. Some will recall my conclusion in the piece “Making caricatures of us all” on 2 February:
“Meanwhile East Africa is currently suffering from a severe drought, which is threatening to put up to 2.5 million people in Kenya alone at the risk of famine. It might be time to shift our attention in that direction and come up with a positive outcome instead.”
And so we should. Aid agencies are saying that the Horn of Africa is on the brink of a major humanitarian crisis caused by the drought of the past three years. According to the United Nations, more than seventeen million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Eritrea, Tanzania and Burundi will need food assistance for the next six months. This drought may be the worst in a decade with land for grazing and cereal production decimated, and acute shortages of food and water.
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The last time I wrote about drought in East Africa was 12 August 1997: The E-Mail, the phonecall and the hydroelectric dam