Photo of the Day: Somalia's Thirsty Camels

When camels are dying, it's a grim sign for other livestock. And for humans.
Camels wait their turn to drink water from a tank near Harfo, northwest of Somalia's capital Mogadishu. (Photo: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)
Jul 21, 2011
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

The officially declared famine in Somalia affects everyone there: man, woman, child and camel. A famine is defined by factors such as the amount of water available for human consumption, the quantity of calories consumed daily, the percentage of the overall population qualifying as malnourished and how many people out of 10,000 starve to death on a typical day.

Here's another sure-fire sign of massive humanitarian crisis: When the camels start dying. Prior to the declaration of famine, half of Somalia's camels—an animal capable of going weeks without water intake—had died due to extensive and persistent drought.

For perspective, humans have a hard time going one day between drinks, and sheep, goats and cattle can only dream of out-thirsting a camel. Livestock depletion is estimated at 80 percent in parts of the afflicted region.

One of the few bright spots in the Horn of Africa today? There are ways to help.

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