Govt earmarks Shs135b for Karamoja food relief

A boy ponders while at a home in Kaboong District, Karamoja Sub-region on December 6, 2021. The area is faced with a hunger crisis.According to IPC, 518,000 people (over 40 percent of the population) in Karamoja Sub-region are facing high levels of food insecurity.  PHOTO/STEVEN ARIONG

What you need to know:

  • In Uganda, 518,000 people are “waiting to die” if no action is taken immediately. 

Government has tasked the Ministry for Finance to urgently provide Shs135 billion for the procurement of food to alleviate the hunger crisis in Karamoja Sub-region, amid complaints of inadequate interventions by area Members of Parliament. 

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja yesterday told Parliament that the funds will be used to procure food for three months, as well as seeds for planting. 

“Cabinet sitting yesterday [Monday] noted the concerns of our brothers and sisters in Karamoja and came up with resolutions…We shall do anything in our power to make sure we do not lose any lives anymore,” Ms Nabbanja said told Parliament yesterday. 

In the immediate term, Ms Nabbanja said 200 tonnes of food were dispatched from the Prime Minister’s office yesterday. 

Ms Nabbanja was responding to complaints of delayed and inadequate interventions into the hunger crisis afflicting the people by area MPs.

Ms Faith Nakut (Napak Woman) told the House that as of July 8, more than 600 starvation-related deaths had been recorded in the districts of Kotido, Napak, Moroto, and Kaabong 

“We found out that our people were starving, literally dying. I visited some village where I found a family of three had died due to starvation,” Ms Nakut said. 

She added: “We acknowledge there have been responses by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), food was distributed in Karamoja, each district settling for 150 tonnes of maize floor and beans targeting the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, the quantities supplied were not reasonable to feed a family for a week.”

Ms Nakut, citing a food security report, said 518,000 people are “waiting to die” if no action is taken immediately, and appealed to the OPM, to avoid procurement bureaucracies. 

Mr Frank Adome (Moroto City) said the hunger crisis has persisted and requires sustainable solutions. 

Nation-wide crisis

Mr Johny Ssasaga (Budadiri East) said: “The issue of famine cuts across the whole country. Where food is, there are those who cannot afford, while in other places, there is no food. The prime minister should come up comprehensively and tell us how they are addressing famine in the country.” 

Ms Susan Amero (Amuria Woman) said the government should revisit its priorities and invest in issues that affect the people, especially regarding the vagaries of climate change by adopting approaches such as irrigation. 

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, who chaired the sitting, tasked the prime minister to furnish the House with details of measures being taken to address the food scarcity crisis across the whole country.