Does This Image Show the Impact of Drought in Turkana?

Over and again, mis and dis-information manifests in a number ways across different social media platforms. Its impact remains a challenge to quantify. Images for instances have been altered and narratives around them manipulated. This image for instance has resurfaced, claiming to show the impact of drought in Kenya. One tweet sharing the image claims, “the vulture is waiting for the child to die.” Another adds, “this should never happen again in our country.”


In a report by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), 14 counties are in the Alarm phase, seven in the alert phase while two are in the Normal drought phase. With this, the number of people at risk of starvation stands at 4.5 million. The same warning bulletin published in November 2022 shows that this number will shoot or decrease, depending on the anticipated rains. Across these counties, 942,000 children between the age of 6-59 months as well as 134,000 pregnant and lactating mothers are acutely malnourished.


This image dates back to about 29 years ago. This reverse image search shows that it was first taken on March 1, 1993 during a famine in Sudan. Later, it was published by The New York Times on March 26, 1993. Popularly referred to as, ‘The Vulture and the Little Boythe child in the image was initially believed to be a girl. This photo won a Pulitzer Award a year later.

After this image taken by South African photojournalist Kevin Carter was published by The New York Times, it attracted so many reactions. Some strongly believed that Carter should have placed down his camera, and saved the child. Others argued that images such as this, only help stir action.


NO, this is not a photo of a starving child in Turkana, Kenya.

This fact-check was produced by Africa Uncensored with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, African Fact Checking Alliance network and the United Nations Development Programme.

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