By Henry Mukasa
and Raymond Baguma
AID agencies are in need of sh150b (about $77m) this year to address the humanitarian needs in the Karamoja region, according to a UN report.
The Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (COHA) said sh100b (about $52.6m) would go to food assistance.
The funding will also support the coordination of education, food, security, health and protection.
Other projects include nutrition, therapeutic and supplementary feeding, water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives.
COHA said the amount requested for was 34% of the $225m required for Ugandan programmes this year.
It said the sub-region had experienced a dry spell for three years, which had affected crops, livestock and food security.
Throughout the last quarter of 2008, the basic living conditions and welfare of the population across the sub-region continued to deteriorate, the report added.
Rains came late and were light, the report said, adding that this led to a third year of harvest failure and worsened the already precarious health of the livestock.
The sub-region has the worst development indicators, with a low life expectancy, insecurity, malnutrition, high maternal and infant mortality rates, low immunisation coverage, poor sanitation, low access to safe water and low literacy.
According to the report, the World Food Programme (WFP) and other aid partners estimate that many people in Karamoja will continue to require food assistance, given the small harvest in 2008.
The semi-arid sub-region comprises five districts of Abim, Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto and Nakapirpirit.
With an estimated population of over 1.1 million people, most of them survive on agro-pastoral or purely pastoral livelihood.
The report observes that the problems faced by the region were symptoms of climate change.
Over the past 30 years, shorter cycles between drought years have been recorded, decreasing from a 10 year cycle, to a five and then two-year cycles and finally to the successive droughts in the past three years, the report said.