12 May 2005, Wajir - A local livestock market where traders take their animals for sale. Most pastoralists lost nearly 90 percent of their animals in the ongoing drought and the animals that did survive are getting about half of the normal market rate. 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.