African Press Association

Drought drives Kenyans to commit suicide

Drought in Kenya force villagers to eat leaves and roots

NAIROBI – SOME Kenyans are reportedly committing suicide amid stress caused by the worst drought in three decades.

Some 3 million people in the East African country are food insecure as a result of the drought that has also triggered conflicts over scare resources, seen thousands of children drop out of school and worsened disease outbreaks.

Victims of the drought are increasingly resorting to potent locally brewed alcoholic drink and drugs as part of negative mechanisms to cope with the stress emanating from drugs.

Rights groups expressed concern at the frequency of victims taking their own lives after failing to withstand the stress, particularly in the northern Turkana County.

“Men especially reported suffering from mental stress, as they were always worried about not being able to provide,” said Maria Libertad Mella Dometita, Gender Adviser at Oxfam, the international non-governmental organisation.

“There are men in Turkana who have committed suicide due to the mental stress,” she disclosed.

Areas with the highest incidents of the drought-related suicide include Kaolokol, Locherekaal and Nayanae.

Oxfam’s findings follow the NGO’s assessment of the drought on populations in Turkana and the northeastern Wajir County.

The organisation reported intake of locally brewed alcoholic drinks had increases among men, women and boys.

Young boys are taking bhang, a dangerous and addictive substance while women are said to be selling miraa leaves, which are also dangerous and addictive.

Men and women mentioned the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Kenya is also experiencing outbreaks of cholera, acute watery diarrhoea and measles.

“Both women and men are under great stress due to the various uncertainties, physical tiredness, mental stress and worries,” Dometita lamented.

– APA / CAJ News