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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 05:55 GMT 06:55 UK
In pictures: Drought-hit Ethiopian village

Trucks at the border

Drought-stricken Moyale is in southern Ethiopia. The border with Kenya runs through its centre. Guards on the Ethiopian side are relaxed, chewing leaves of the mild stimulant khat.

Men with donkeys carrying loads

The region is at the heart of the food crisis after two failed rains in a row. Kenyans come to Ethiopia to buy food - but use other crossing points like this stream on the border.


During a drought, women face the tough choice of deciding whether to feed their children or cattle. The local Borena people will go without food for their children.


The drought has led to many people losing their cattle and with it any wealth they had. Once cattle get weak, their milk dries up leaving people to go hungry.

Camels and a woman

Weak cattle also means their prices plummet. Camels are more drought resistant than cattle and sheep and goats but most herders have lost some camels.

People dragging a dead cow

These boys drag the carcass of a cow away from the houses, in case of disease. After strong rains come it can take some three months for the land to be productive.

People holding khat (plant that when chewed is a stimulant)

Khat is widespread here, as is conflict - often started by pastoralists high on the drug. Many farmers in the fertile highlands are growing less coffee for the more lucrative khat.

Man carrying bale of hay

New grass can kill cattle so hay is transported miles by road from more fertile areas and then carried by foot. A bundle measuring 50cm by 50cm by 1m is sold for about 40 birr ($5).

Man who lost cattle

Tari Bonja (r) sits next to his wife Elema in nearby village of Bokola. In the span of 24 hours, he lost 25 cattle after they grazed on grass.

Dead cattle

Weakened by rain, their bodies could not digest it and one by one, they fell to the ground and perished. It was the worst day of Tari's life. "I would rather have died myself,'' he said.

People standing in the rain

The arrival of rain is celebrated, but an end of hard times is months away. Some are benefiting from an Oxfam-backed pond project. Empty just a week ago it is now overflowing.

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