Nairobi’s Urban Food Crisis
There is food in the markets, but people can’t afford it.
The drought that has been hitting the headlines in the Horn of Africa is not just limited to the arid scrublands of Somalia and northern Kenya. In the slums of Nairobi, the drought has contributed to an increase of food and fuel prices, meaning that people are going hungry whilst the shops next to their shanty houses are stocked with goods.
Milicent, above, is sixteen months old, and was suffering from malnutrition. Her mother, Rosemary, noticed that she was not putting on weight, and sought help from an aid group working in Nairobi’s Korogocho slum, where they both live.
“Sometime we eat just once a day”, says Rosemary, who describes the food prices right now as very high. Milicent is one of five children, and a typical meal is ugali, a Kenyan staple made from mixing maize flour and water. To feed her children, Rosemary will sometimes have to skip a meal herself, drinking just a cup of tea.
Her husband is a casual labourer, and with irregular work, the family has problems affording enough food for the family. They moved to Nairobi two years ago from the country in search of work. “Life is much harder in the city, if there is no work you won’t eat” Rosemary says.