What you need to know:
- Last week, Government tasked the Ministry for Finance to urgently provide Shs135 billion for the procurement of food to alleviate the hunger crisis in the Sub-region.
- With a porous border and thriving illicit trade, Karamoja has endured decades of tit-for-tat armed cattle raids between nomadic clans that wander the lawless frontier between Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya.
The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has directed the Prime Minster, Robinah Nabbanja to expeditiously address the worsening famine situation in Karamoja Sub-region in north eastern Uganda, and also find transformative long-term solutions to address the disaster left scores of residents starving to death.
Ms Among made the directive during the plenary session on Tuesday.
‘’Honorable Members, the plight of our people in famine-stricken Karamoja remains a scar on the conscience of our Country. The images of starving malnourished children and reports of famine-induced deaths have left us all enervated. Therefore, I direct the Prime Minster to find sustainable solutions to stem this seasonal challenge forthwith,’’ Ms Among said.
The Bukedea Woman MP acknowledged government’s undertakings on requisite budgetary interventions in terms of food relief, which she said will not be enough to solve the problem.
According to her, there’s need for short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions that will address problems of food production and storage that will make Karamoja self-reliant.
She called for a concerted effort of leaders, local population, development partners and neighboring communities to prioritize the agenda to be replicated within the East African community Frame work since the variable of the problem has a regional context.
More than half a million people are going hungry in Karamoja, some 40 percent of the population of this neglected, long-suffering rural region between South Sudan and Kenya.
Natural disasters, plagues of locusts and army worms, and raids by heavily-armed cattle thieves have left little to eat.
As food has become ever more scarce, Karamoja's most vulnerable residents are struggling to survive.
Late government intervention
Last week, Government tasked the Ministry for Finance to urgently provide Shs135 billion for the procurement of food to alleviate the hunger crisis in the Sub-region.
But as the Speaker was making her directives in Parliament, the Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees, Mr Hilary Onek was at OPM food stores at Namanve, Wakiso District flagging off relief food items to the mineral rich restive region.
The food items flagged off from OPM stores at Namanve on Tuesday include 552 metric tons of maize flour and 238 metric tons of beans targeting about 600,000 people in the worst hunger-hit districts of Kotido, Kaabong, Moroto, Karenga and Nabilatuk.
Being a semi-arid area, Karamoja which has for decades been also rocked by insecurity experiences two rainy seasons and an intense hot and dry season which pose several challenges to farming.
The most affected districts are Kotido where 1O7, 7OO are estimated to be starving, Napak (81,800), Kaabong (70,600), and Moroto (61,900).
Across the region, about 91,600 children and 9,500 pregnant or breastfeeding women are suffering from acute malnutrition and need treatment, according to the latest assessment by humanitarian agencies and foreign donors.
'Worse to come'
With a porous border and thriving illicit trade, Karamoja has endured decades of tit-for-tat armed cattle raids between nomadic clans that wander the lawless frontier between Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya.
These incursions make life even more miserable for Karimojong communities entirely reliant on livestock and crops to survive, and government interventions to disarm rustlers have not stopped the cycles of violence.
The erratic effects of a changing climate -- Karamoja is experiencing harsh drought, but last year witnessed damaging floods and landslides -- have only multiplied the hardships bearing down on the region.