Why were the Maasai more badly affected by the drought?
The drought affected the Maasai in many ways. Maasai were a pastoral community living in North Kenya and Tanzania. The British colonial government in East Africa restricted the pasture land to increase cultivation.
During drought, nomadic tribes generally moved to places where forage was available for the cattle, but the Maasai were bound down to a fixed area and prohibited from moving in search of new pastures. They were cut off from the best grazing pasture lands and forced to live within a semi-arid tract prone to frequent droughts.
The Maasai community could not shift their cattle to places where pastures were available because these areas were restricted. Therefore, a large number of Maasai cattle died of starvation and disease in the drought years. In just two years of severe drought (1933 and 1934), over half the cattle in the Maasai reserve died.
As the grazing lands shrank, the adverse effect of the droughts increased in intensity. This affected the Maasai community to a large extent because they considered cattle as their wealth.