Child Alert - Horn of Africa UNICEF

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The village of Dorah, Djibouti, where it has not rained for three years.

The burden on children

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UNICEF correspondent David McKenzie reports from southern Somalia on the never-ending search for clean water.

The daily chore of gathering water for cooking, laundry and bathing usually takes about three hours in the morning and is traditionally the work of children and women. During drought or an erratic rainy season, however, water holes dry up and become crowded. The time spent dedicated to fetching water can increase many-fold. Some children have the added responsibility of herding the livestock, which can consume an entire day, every day, just walking and waiting for the animals to fill their stomachs on paltry pastureland.