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OPM dispatches tons of food Relief to Hunger-torn Karamoja

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The Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Engineer Hillary Onek flags off  food to Karamoja at  the Office of the Prime Minister stores in Namanve Industrial Park, Wakiso District. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

 Story by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/KMA Updates.

Namanve, Uganda: Uganda’s Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Hon. Hillary Onek has today morning commissioned food relief to Karamoja sub region as part of government intervention to support hunger-stricken homesteads.Uganda’s Minister for 

This is Key.

Karamoja has nine districts  of Kotido, Kabong, Moroto, Napak, Karenga, Amudat, Abim, Nabilatuk and Nakapiripirit.
In the current hunger crisis, 518,000 is assessed vulnerable population, 500,000 of these are most vulnerable.
And government is looking at helping over 600,000 people in the sub region.
“Food is procured from Ugandan farmers”. Minister Onek.

Basing at Office of the Prime Minister stores in Namanve, Onek told media that a total of 552 metric tons of fortified maize floor and 236 metric tons of beans will be distributed to highly affected districts of Kotido, Kabong, Moroto, Napak, Karenga and Nabilatuk.

“The food we have dispatched today includes fortified foods that will be fed to malnourished children since the area has high levels of malnutrition”. Hon. Onek.Workers at Office of the Prime Minister stores in Namanve Industrial Park, Wakiso District  are seen carrying sacks of food to load trucks that are to transport relief to Karamoja. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

He said that their intervention will be in the sub region for three months as government devises a sustainable solution to the recurring challenge faced there.

*The problem showed up around December 2021 and worsened towards February this year (2022) due to long dry season that could not allow growth of food crops.

*According to the 2021 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), The districts with Alert levels of acute malnutrition are were Abim (GAMN 6.3%), Karenga (GAM 9.6%), Nabilatuk (GAM 8%) and Nakapiripirit (GAM 8.2%) coupled with food insecurity in the area.

Basing on the report, Office of the Prime Minister intervened directly with food relief and before today’s official commissioning; 1590 metric tons of maize and 795 tons of beans have already been distributed to the nine districts that make up Karamoja sub-region.Hon. Hillary Onek, Uganda’s Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees speaks to Press after commissioning food relief to Karamoja today morning. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

It should be remembered that Cabinet sitting on 10th/July/2022 directed Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic development to release Ugx. 135bn to feed people in Karamoja for three months.

“We have received about USD.26M worth donation from development and we have proposed to President Museveni that this be directed to food production in Karamoja sub region. The region has started receiving rains therefore we seek that Ministry of agriculture secures fast growing crops for the people there to attain food security”. Onek said.

Minister Onek revealed that they need to work hand in hand with the leadership of Karamoja to mobilize the population to start growing their own food which has not been there as most of the population has been greatly indulging in cattle rustling and causing insecurity.

When asked about government’s attempt to Teso and Lango Sub Region where the disaster has extended to, Hon. Onek informed that “it’s true the disaster has also affected regions that boarder Karamoja (Teso and Lango) but government have deliberate programs to that”.

“Districts of Katakwi, Kapelebyong, Amuria, Bukedia and others are also facing the same problem but it should be remembered that some of these districts have same traits as Karamoja like cattle rustling and insecurity so we need to do serious mobilizing on food production to boost food security as well improving security in the area”. Hon. Onek.

Preparedness.

Minister Hillary Onek: Ministry of Disaster, Relief Preparedness and Refugees has got Disaster Risk Management Plan which is about Ugx. 200bn and is already approved by cabinet.

This is a 10 year long term plan but the first three years will focus majorly on emergencies especially climatic changes.

In this plan, we shall procure equipment for the four major regions of the country to work on emergencies for example when it rains after a long spell of  dry season, there is always floods and silting so these machines will help to restore order.

We also intend to build silos near affected areas like Karamoja region for easy distribution of food relief in times of emergency among many issues as detailed in the plan.

Climate Change.

Minister Onek notified that there has been degradation of environment because of destruction of ozone layer globally though it’s still less in Uganda.

“We need to adapt to the situation by utilize our scarse natural resources in our country like water bodies, in fact i will discuss with Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry for water to revive the 1960 project of pumping water from Lake Bisina for irrigation in Karamoja”. Hon. Onek.

“Bisina is a small lake that contributes to Lake Kyoga, there is a project that was designed to pump water to the top of Napak hill then gravitate throughout Karamoja to Kabong because that’s the highest point so that is the project we hope to launch so that we turn Karamoja green”. Minister remarked.Hon. Faith Nakut the Napak District Woman Member of Parliament addresses journalists at food relief commissioning ceremony. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

Present at commissioning ceremony was Hon. Faith Nakut the Napak District Woman Member of Parliament representing the leadership of Karamoja sub region who pointed that people in the area do not need a lot at the moment but to survive since many have died of hunger.

She revealed that if a Karamajong gets food to eat today and a drink, he/she will survive.

She said that there is need to boost food production in area however, irrigation services should be prioritized in the region since it experiences long spells of drought as well mechanizing agriculture in the area should be the core if we are to have sustainable food production to fight food insecurity.

She also strongly called for willingness in government’s response to shocks which entails beefing financial investment since Disaster ministry is currently underfunded yet there is a lot to respond to.Magnus Bruun-Rasmussen the World Food Programme Head of Partnerships Development, Uganda Country Office addresses media at Office of the Prime Minister stores in Namanve Industrial Park, Wakiso District. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

Magnus Bruun-Rasmussen the World Food Programme Head of Partnerships Development, Uganda Country Office revealed that the United States donated USD.21M which money has been used to procure part of the food that has been dispatched as well as contemplating nutrition programs already in place in the sub region.

He added that World Food Programme has also contributed on transporting relief items to Karamoja through offering their high duty trucks as part of easing the process of government’s response to the catastrophe in the region.

He lauded the strong collaboration the Organization has with the Government of Uganda and Ministry of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees.

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