12 May 2005, Arba Geramso - A woman collecting water from a well. Most pastoralists lost nearly 90 percent of their animals in the ongoing drought and 80 percent of the population relies on food aid for survival. During the past decade, the frequency of drought has been increasing with shorter recovery periods, having an intense impact on the pastoralists who are among the region's most vulnerable population. Of the more than 8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa, 1.6 million are children below the age of five years, threatened mainly by malnutrition. The loss of the animals, a prime source of meat and milk and the main financial assets of the pastoralists, has created a continuous cycle of poverty and hunger.