What you need to know:
- According to the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) report, the hunger in the region was as a result of long dry spells that led to acute famine, killing at least 2,207 people.
The 2022 Human Rights and Freedoms report released last week is littered with hundreds of deaths registered in Karamoja sub region due to starvation and hunger-associated illness in 2022.
At 1676 deaths, Kotido district registered the highest number of starvation and hunger related deaths, followed by Kaabong at 225 deaths, 166 deaths were registered in Moroto while Napak hunger death toll stood at 135 deaths in 2022. Only eight deaths were recorded in Karenga district.
HERE: Karamoja locals turn to leaves, nuts as hunger strikes harder
According to the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) report, the hunger in the region was as a result of long dry spells that led to acute famine, killing at least 2,207 people.
READ: More than 20,000 children in Karamoja are malnourished
“According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) and Acute Food Insecurity (AFI), 41 per cent of the population in Karamoja were facing high levels of food insecurity between March and July 2022,” the report reads in part.
“The long dry spell in the region was partly due to state failure to anticipate, reduce and rapidly respond to disaster risks. Climate change is a grave threat to people worldwide if the government fails to take reasonable and rational measures to safeguard against it,” the report further stated.
READ: Hunger claims children in forgotten corner of Uganda
Other causes of famine in the region highlighted by the commission are, insecurity and intensified livestock raids, low crop yields, destruction of crops by wild animals, poverty and alcoholism.
The acute famine that hit the region also left hundreds of children malnourished with over 300 cases registered in Kotido District.
Last year, government, local and international Non-government organisations intervened by delivering tons of food items to the region. However, the rights body says the region needs long-lasting solutions than interim donations which leave the region prone to famine.
The UHRC has advised government to prioritise the drought early warning signs to mitigate the effects of disasters in the country. They have also called on Parliament to pass the National Food and Nutrition Bill, to provide the respect of the right to food and address malnutrition issues.
The Ministry of Agriculture has been advised to enhance agricultural extension services by training farmers on modern agronomy practices while the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to prioritise budgetary allocation for information gathering and research to in order reduce poverty levels in the region.