His thinning white hair dyed orange in the traditional local style, Aden Esse Kan stands amid the swirling dust clouds of eastern Ethiopia, eager to talk about the drought that now plagues this region.
An elder in the village of Togo Wuchale, a dusty half hour drive from the town of Jijiga, Kan summarizes the problems facing his community, “The drought affects us in two ways – our people and our livestock,” Kan said. “There is no rain at all so we don’t have anything to eat.”
Today across much of Ethiopia, where as many as 11 million people are in need of food aid, that is a distressingly common refrain. For traditional pastoralists like those from the Jijiga region, just sixty kilometers from the border with Somalia, the drought has devastated local grazing land, forcing many in the village of Togo Wuchale to drive their thinning herds further and further in search of food.
“The livestock have to go very far to graze now – at least 400 kilometers,” Kan said. “The youngest and strongest have left.”
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