Extreme temperatures have sucked dry dams in Rushinga, creating death traps for livestock as more than 100 cattle died in the past week caught in the muddy waters of what is left of the once vibrant water bodies.
The ground is not firm, transformed into a pool of heavy mud as the dam is captured under the soaring temperatures in Rushinga, which have decimated crops, and now sucking water from dams, leaving just a few months to completely drain the water bodies.
The situation is dire, extreme for the livestock which is constantly trapped in these muddy waters, staring death in the face, due to exhaustion.
Within the past week villagers in Rushinga’s Mukonde, Nyatsato, and Nyamanyanya area’s have lost at least 100 cattle, caught in what have become the “mud of death”.
And so they have had to leave every other chore, to combine efforts and spend the better part of their days saving their livestock from the jaws of death.
The local leadership is vexed, and their hope is weaning. In this part of Rushinga like everywhere else, cattle is a treasured asset, and they are watching it slowly seeping away with the possibility of a huge crisis if they do not receive adequate rains this season.
Another danger is lurking, as hyenas are now finding easy prey, pouncing on the captured beasts.
In the meantime, the Rushinga villagers have drifted back to the nomadic methods, similar to the Masai, travelling long distances that stretch as far as Ruya River in Mozambique to fetch water for their cattle.
The struggle for water extends to the households, and at this point every drop counts.
If the current situation is worrying, then the forecasts for Africa for 2020 should be more worrisome as the continent’s rain-fed yields are expected to significantly dwindle by a margin of 50 percent due to climate change, according to research by the United Nations Environment Programme.