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Teso leaders seek gov’t intervention on looming hunger

Families in Teso are living and sharing only one meal.

NGORA DISTRICT, UGANDA: District chairpersons across the Teso sub-region have raised concern over the state of food insecurity in the region.

The leaders want urgent intervention from the government following the long dry spell that has ravaged crops. The region didn’t receive adequate rain spanning over five months, forcing some farmers to cut down the maize, sorghum, and other crops that had withered in the gardens because of drought.

In Ngora district, more than 33,000 people are on the verge of starving due to lack of food following the prolonged drought that affected the first planting season. The food security situation report released last week indicates that several people in the district sleep on empty stomachs, a situation that requires urgent government intervention of food relief.

The report signed by the Chief Administrative Officer, Lawrence Wadada, and copied to the MPs in Ngora and other leaders shows that residents only have food to take them through two weeks.

The household food survey conducted in the district indicates that more than 80 percent population in Ngora district are at risk of death through starvation.

Mike Odongo lo’Asio, the district chairperson of Ngora says that much as the situation cuts across, the most vulnerable communities are the elderly, people living with HIV/AIDs, the disabled, children and breastfeeding mothers.

Odongo says that households don’t even have seeds to plant for current rains that started a few days ago.

In Kalaki district, the district chairperson Samuel Okello reported that 65 percent of the population now survives on a single meal each day. He adds that several households are struggling to find food.

In Kapelebyong district, the report from the production department shows that more than 90 percent of crops planted in the first season dried up in the gardens.

Francis Akorikin, the Kapelebyong district chairperson says most of the crops were affected during the planting season as the drought-hit the district.

Akorikin says the food stock will not sustain the population up to the next harvest season.

“We have a problem of hunger in the region and this is not because people are lazy to look for food. The drought-hit us and every effort by farmers was frustrated. So at this point, the only quick solution is government intervention in providing food and quick maturing seeds for the current rains”, he said.

Currently, all the districts in Teso are conducting household food security surveys to understand the magnitude of food insecurity in the region.

According to meteorology experts, rains are expected in Teso towards the end of this month.

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