WFP poisoned porridge: Death toll jumps to two

Sunday March 17 2019

A woman assists a sick man who was rushed to Lotome health centre III after eating suspected poisoned porridge supplied by World Food programme. Photo by Steven Ariong

Karamoja- A second person was Sunday confirmed dead after consuming porridge that was supplied by the World Food Programme (WFP), in Karamoja region.

The death occurred on Sunday afternoon at Karita Health Centre III, Napak District.

It follows the Saturday death of one person in Amudat District. Dozens of people who partook the porridge are in critical condition and are currently admitted to different health centres.

The Saturday incident was confirmed in Chepkwararat village in Karita sub-county, Amudat District.

 Mr Joseph Lomonyang, the Napak District chairperson identified the person who died on Sunday as 40-year-old Nate Sagal, a resident of Lomote village.

Mr Timothy Teko, the Assistant District Health Director said Sagal’s body has been taken to Matany Hospital for a post-mortem.


Meanwhile, the State Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Mr Musa Ecweru said on Sunday that they are concerned about the sad development.

“Government is seriously concerned about the food that was supplied by UN World Food programme to the people of Karamoja. We are working hard to get to the root cause of the problem,” he said.

WFP which has been the lead agency in fighting hunger in Karamoja, on Tuesday last week distributed the porridge flour to 120 households but several people who prepared and ate the porridge, suffered stomach upsets while others fainted moments later.


30 hospitalized after eating poisoned WFP porridge

Thursday March 14 2019


Amudat. A total of 30 people from different families in Alakas village, Amudat Sub County in Amudat District in Karamoja sub-region are fighting for their lives at Amudat Hospital after eating porridge suspected to have been poisoned.

The victims were ferried on Wednesday to Amudat hospital where they are getting treatment.

According to the LC3 Chairperson of Amudat Mr. Andrew Ruto Losia, the victims started complaining after preparing and eating porridge supplied to them by UN agency - World Food program.

He said WFP on Tuesday distributed porridge flour to 120 households and that so far everyone who prepared the porridge flour and consumed it including children complained of stomach upset whereas others fainted.

“We can’t tell whether the porridge flour that World Food distributed to the families had chemicals in it until we get the result from the government laboratory but as for now we are all confused,” he said.

Mr. Losia said the whole sub-county has been thrown into panic adding that other households that had not prepared porridge flour have poured it.

Amudat district police commander Mr. Samson Muyamba confirmed people have been admitted adding that they are investigating the matter.

He said samples from the victims have been sent to the government laboratory.

Mr. Peter Kusolo the district health director Amudat who is also a surgeon at Amudat hospital explains that no death has been registered adding that all the victims are responding to treatment.

Mr. Ryan Anderson, the World Food Program Deputy Country Director in his email statement confirmed the incident saying the UN WFP team has been deployed to investigate the incident.

“WFP is aware of the issue reported and its team has been deployed immediately working with the district leaders and health teams in Amudat to investigate the matter.

He added that “We cannot tell at the moment what the problem is exactly and if it is related to WFP’s food. It is our utmost priority to ensure we provide safe and nutritious food to all the people.”

 At least 30 people who ate the porridge in Alakas village, Amudat Sub-county in Amudat District, were on Wednesday taken to Amudat Hospital but were discharged on Thursday after responding to treatment.

Mr Ecweru said the government “does not have any plans to kill its people” and described the death of two people as unfortunate.

“What we suspect that the food could have got contaminated during the packaging process,” he said. “But the question is: How was this not detected?”