KOTIDO, UGANDA: Fifty-eight people in Kotido district have reportedly died of hunger between May and June this year due to the food crisis in the Karamoja sub-region. A report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification(IPC) indicates that about 518,000 people, approximately 40 percent of the population in the Karamoja sub-region are facing high levels of food insecurity.
John Bosco Akore, the secretary Kotido Elders Council told URN that the severe shortage of food has led to widespread malnutrition, which has caused the death of 58 children and elderly people between May and June this year.
According to Akore, the deaths were reported from eleven villages across Kotido district, adding that another 292 people are on the verge of death if no action is taken. He warns that without immediate support from the government, the number of people dying from hunger could double before the harvest period expected in August.
“The victims of drought and insecurity are desperately in need of food relief. I call upon the government and any other development partners to intervene to save our people’’ Akore pleaded. He observes that some families were forced to consume their seed stock distributed by the government and have nothing to plant.
Joyce Nachu, a mother of 7 children residing in Kacheri village in Kotido district, says that her children are suffering from severe malnourishment as hunger continues to sweep the region. Nachu notes that the food crisis resulted from poor harvest, adding that the prevailing insecurity has worsened the situation since it has blocked them from engaging in money activities. “We always burn charcoal and collect firewood to sell to get money for food but since the insecurity escalated we can no longer go to the bush. Armed warriors have taken charge of the jungle, you go there they kill you, so we are just locked at home,’’ Nachu narrated.
She noted that there is a need to address insecurity because it’s the main driver of hunger, which drives the raiders to cause havoc in the community. Paul Komol Lotee, the Kotido LCV chairperson confirmed the mortalities, saying that the figures could be much higher since other deaths are not reported.
Komol said although they received some relief food, the number of people experiencing extreme hunger in the entire district has doubled because of the poor harvest last year. He said the entire population in Kotido goes without food for the whole day, which has forced children to resort to begging in restaurants around town.
Komol says that everyone in the district including himself lives at crisis levels of food security, a disaster that needs urgent attention.
Early this week, the permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Keith Muhakanizi said that the government will direct more funding towards the hunger crisis in Karamoja and Teso sub-regions.
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