Famine et espoir dans la corne de l’Afrique

NAIROBI – Une fois encore, la famine sévit dans la corne de l’Afrique. Plus de dix millions de personnes se battent pour leur survie, principalement les communautés d’éleveurs nomades des régions extrêmement arides de la Somalie, de l’Ethiopie et du nord du Kenya. Chaque jour amène son lot d’annonces de décès et d’afflux massifs d’affamés dans les camps de réfugiés au Kenya, de l’autre côté de la frontière avec la Somalie.

La cause immédiate de ce désastre est claire : l’absence de pluies depuis deux ans dans les régions arides de l’Afrique de l’est. Ce sont des endroits où l’eau s’est tellement raréfiée au fil des ans que les récoltes sont, au mieux, marginales. Des millions de familles, et des dizaines de millions de personnes nomades ou semi-nomades élèvent leurs chameaux, leurs moutons, leurs brebis et autre animaux, qu’ils déplacent sur de longues distances à la recherche de pâturages arrosés par les pluies. En l’absence de pluies, les herbes se rabougrissent, le bétail meurt, et les communautés sont confrontées à la famine.

Le pastoralisme est depuis longtemps une existence difficile dans la corne de l’Afrique. Ce ne sont pas les frontières politiques mais bien les pluies qui déterminent les zones de pâturages susceptibles de maintenir la vie, mais elles sont incertaines et imprévisibles. Nous vivons pourtant à une époque où se sont les frontières politiques qui sont sacrosaintes, et non le pastoralisme nomade. Ces frontières, et la sédentarisation croissante des fermiers, ont étouffé les communautés d’éleveurs nomades.

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