Monday, November 23, 2009

Drought devastates Tanzania's Maasai communities

AllAfrica,com via Arusha Times (Tanzania): The drought spell that has hit most parts of Arusha and Manyara regions for about two consecutive years is tearing apart the Maasai social fabric and driving youths in large numbers to seek employment or beg for food in urban areas. Maasai youths from Simanjiro, Ngorongoro and Monduli Districts are flocking into town and the only job that they can sometimes find is guarding houses and business premises but often without any pay.

Some of the 'Morans' will work just for food and shelter. Cattle grazing, their main occupation back home, has suffered from the drought and as a result a major part of their livestock succumbed to the harsh desert-like conditions. This year's drought, according to observers, could be the worst in history.

…"We recently held a full council meeting of ward leaders and this subject though it wasn't in the agenda came up," stated Elias Wawa Lali the District Commissioner for Ngorongoro when asked about the dire conditions of district. He admitted that many parts of Ngorongoro suffered drought and indeed people are suffering. "And close to 20 percent of cattle have died some from drought and famine related predatory diseases," explained Mr Wawa Lali.

…The Monduli District Commissioner Mr Jowika Kasunga also admitted that drought had razed his district in the past several months, but he still had no data for animals that could have died and he was yet to be informed if there had been any departures of young men from the vicinity heading to Arusha town. However, It is now common to see Maasai women and children from drought stricken areas of the region go door to door begging for food or money….

A Maasai herdsman in Ngorongoro, Tanzania, shot by Nicor, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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