What you need to know:
- The Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Mr Hilary Onek, flagged off 552 metric tonnes of maize flour and 238 metric tonnes of beans at the Office of Prime Minister Stores in Namanve, Wakiso District
The government has dispatched 790 metric tonnes of relief food to Karamoja Sub-region, whose people are on the brink of starvation.
The Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Mr Hilary Onek, flagged off 552 metric tonnes of maize flour and 238 metric tonnes of beans at the Office of Prime Minister Stores in Namanve, Wakiso District yesterday.
“When we talk of Karamoja operations, it includes their neighbourhood, which is also suffering. We are going to include some vulnerable people like children with nodding disease syndrome in areas of Kivu, parts Lamwo and Pader [districts],” Mr Onek said.
This is the second time the government is sending food to Karamoja in two weeks. It sent 2,000 metric tonnes of food last week.
Mr Onek said the food is targeting 600,000 people in Kotido, Kaabong, Moroto, Napak, Karenga and Nabilatuk districts that are worst hit by famine.
He attributed the hunger to effects of climate change, cattle rustling and insecurity.
Mr Onek said the government budgeted for Shs135b for the food in Karamoja for three months. The food is fortified with nutrition and vitamins to help malnourished children in health centres.
“The government committed Shs135b to feed Karamoja for the next three months. With support from our partners, we shall work hard to see that we stop the death of our population because of hunger,” Mr Onek said.
However, he added that the government has developed a long-term ten-year disaster risk management plan that will require about Shs759b to solve the disaster issues in the country.
He said among the plans include reviving the irrigation scheme in Karamoja and surrounding areas to boost food production.
“We are going to discuss tomorrow when we meet ministers for agriculture and water to see how we can revive the 1969 project for pumping water for irrigation from Lake Busina for irrigation in Karamoja and surrounding areas to turn the area green,” Mr Onek said.
He said they received donations to the tune of $26m and “we have discussed with the president to use some of the donation to start food production in Karamoja”.
Mr Onek said the Ministry of Agriculture will provide seeds to enable Karimojongs to plant since the rain season has started.
The Napak Woman MP, Ms Faith Nakut, asked the government to boost production in the sub-region and promote a highly mechanised agriculture and livestock sector to sustain the population.