Some 300 kilometres north of the Kenyan town of Marsabit, in the expansive Chalbi desert, stands a small village called Balesaru. Official figures indicate 5 700 residents, yet the village's chief says that this number is fluid due to the constant flow of shepherds. At the moment, many people from neighbouring regions have migrated here in search of water and pasture for their animals which has significantly reduced across northern Kenya as the dry spell continues to bite.
Although a drought alert has been issued for the Marsabit county, Balesaru is considered a dry season grazing area, meaning it is one of the last areas to dry up. Herders therefore converge here during droughts. 'Vétérinaires sans Frontières' (VSF) Germany has chosen Balesaru and nine other similar zones for a livestock deworming and treatment exercise. “The timing is crucial,” explains Dr. Stephen Kimindio, field coordinator, VSF-G North Horr, “the deworming has to be done while the animals are still strong to improve their health and increase chances of survival through the dry spell.”