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The Dangers of Drought

Patricia and her daughter Rachel draw water from a deep, sandy well two-and-a-half miles from their home in Kenya's Nzaui District.
Patricia and her daughter Rachel, 8, draw water from a deep, sandy well two-and-a-half miles from their home in Kenya's Nzaui District. Photo by Jake Lyell.

Although summer is coming to an end in the United States, August remains one of the hottest months of the year in many developing nations, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa. With higher temperatures comes the threat of extreme drought. Without reliable water sources, millions of children and their families' lives are at risk. ChildFund works in some of the world's poorest countries to combat the effects of drought, but to continue this work, we need your help.

Drying Out

Countries in the Horn of Africa, including Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, recently endured one of the worst droughts in 60 years. When water sources dry up, families are often forced to abandon their homes and embark on long, perilous journeys in search of water — and many children do not survive these treks.

Ethiopia has been hit particularly hard by drought. Prolonged dry spells caused by the atmospheric phenomenon known as La Niña disrupted two rainy seasons in Ethiopia, resulting in withered crops. This, in turn, forced millions of people to migrate to other areas where water supplies are more stable. In Uganda, significantly reduced rainfall resulted in the destruction of thousands of gardens, and many crops had to be harvested prematurely. As a result, many families were faced with the prospect of depleting their food supplies in as little as two months.

Children Hit Hardest

In drought-stricken areas, it is often children under the age of 5 who are affected the most severely. Without reliable water sources, children have to drink water that is often dirty, increasing the likelihood of waterborne infections.

"At times I lose hope because I know that these diseases are caused by lack of safe water, but we don't have any alternative but to drink the water," says Angeline, a mother in Kenya's Emali district.

ChildFund works to provide children in need and their families with access to clean water, particularly in areas affected by drought. We give water storage vessels to schools and villages to conserve rainwater during wet seasons, plus we dig boreholes that allow communities to draw their own water. Making a donation to our Essentials for Survivals fund is one way you can help us ensure that children have access to water that is safe to drink. As a monthly giving partner, you'll receive quarterly newsletters highlighting how your support is making a difference in the lives of children in countries hit hardest by drought. Please consider helping ChildFund make a difference in children's lives.

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ChildFund International has earned high ratings from Charity Navigator, the American Institute of Philanthropy and Charities Review Council.

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