Desperate farmers in Kenya struggle for survival

The worst drought in more than half a century is gripping parts of East Africa, affecting the lives of more than 10 million people.

The epicentre of the disaster is in northern Kenya, near the border with Ethiopia, an area where families are totally dependent on their livestock.

Part of the problem is conflict - more than a million people have fled fighting in South Sudan and crossed the border into neighbouring countries like Uganda and Kenya.

In the settlements surrounding Moyale, thousands have been displaced and entire herds of animals have dropped dead in the heat.

Farmers are destitute and desperate, on the hunt for anything to sustain them.

Wild berries are by no means ideal, but it is all they have. This is all about survival.

"We have no shelter, no food and no water. The wild fruits are only helping us live today - tomorrow we don't know what will happen," farmer Halima Malicha told Newshub.

Her family would normally rely on their cattle for food and income, but on a journey to find pasture, 200 animals succumbed to the harsh African heat.

Beneath the shade of a lone Acacia tree, they wait and wonder what's next. It's where they've been living for the past two weeks.

"We are all vulnerable to the sun and also a lot of mosquito bites... We are not at peace," Guyo Malicha told Newshub.

Further up the road, we met another group of families.

Elders cradle their last surviving animals and plant roots and pink tea made from boiling tree bark is the order of the day.

"This is not something we'd normally eat... We used to live on milk and meat, but this is all we have now. It sometimes makes my stomach upset," Tadi Adi told Newshub.

Across this region, the drought has sent farmers on long and dangerous journeys. Osman Jirmo is travelling 75kms in hopes of finding pasture and water.

It's the last resort for them, to leave their homes for a journey which will take at least four days.

For some, such trips turn deadly. Halima Jaldesa's 14-year-old son set out to find pasture.

He got lost in the vast countryside and never returned.

"After eight days of searching, they found my son dead. They brought his body home and he was laid to rest. He died because of a lack of water," she said.

The killer drought has so far offered no reprieve to these north Kenyan communities.

Michael Morrah travelled to East Africa with assistance from World Vision. Click here to donate to the East Africa Hunger Crisis campaign.