By Eddie Ssejjoba
Residents of Napak district in Karamoja sub-region are facing serious food shortage due to poor farm yields as a result of a prolonged dry spell.
Many residents, some bed-ridden after days without food, have appealed to the Government and other stakeholders for urgent food aid, with leaders predicting a worse situation in the near future if no immediate intervention is done.
During a village meeting last week at Nawaikorot village in Ngoleriet sub-county, the parish chief, Albine Ababa said several people in a manyatta, which has 50 households and over 180 family members had died due to starvation.
Ababa is the area Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) focal person who co-ordinates and collects information about disaster predictions on behalf of ACTED (Agency for Technical Co-operation and Development) that works in collaboration with the Dan Church Aid to alert residents about impending disasters.
“The situation has been bad for the last two to three months with no rain at all. The crops have withered and people have started dying in manyattas due to starvation, while others are bed-ridden,” he told officials from Dan Church Aid and ACTED who visited Nawaikorot village.
He said the area had recently received some relief food from the Office of the Prime Minister but food was given to selected families with the most vulnerable members, including the elderly and the sick.
The food rations, according to Ababa, lasted for a few days.
Samson Longole, 78, who stays in the manyatta, said he had gone for days without food and only fed on green vegetables provided by Good Samaritans. Other residents had migrated to other districts in search of food.
Residents of a manyatta home in Nawaikorot village in Napak district in Karamoja. They are appealing for urgent food relief. PHOTO/Eddie Ssejjoba
Maria Loteng, the manyatta head and DEWS local co-ordinator, said she had passed on information about the prevailing food shortages and the affected people though no action had been taken.
The district information officer, Emmanuel Ocepa, told the officials in an earlier meeting that four people, including a child had died in the sub-county due to starvation. He said they were still collecting information from elsewhere, but the situation was bad.
John Peter Okinyom, the district agriculture officer, said rains that had been expected in April, May and June did not come causing the prolonged dry spell.
“People have been idle because of the prolonged dry spell. Others have migrated to Apeitolim, Irriiri and Lokipurat green belts in the east near Katakwi district looking for wet areas for cultivation,” he explained.
Thomas Ougi, the DEWS Karamoja co-ordinator, said through their networks, they had obtained early warnings about the weather and prevailing situations and passed them on to the relevant authorities.
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Napak district short of food due to dry spell