By Daniel Edyegu
AS the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) concluded the distribution of relief food to victims of the recent hailstorm in Bushiyi and Bumayoka subcounties in Bududa district last week, it became apparent that over 2,000 people in the affected areas were staring starvation is in the face.
Most recipients of the relief food, despite being grateful, seemed more worried. Boniface Birabi, a resident of Namirumbo village in Bushiyi, said given his extended family, he does not expect the food he received to last long.
“I have eight children and two wives. I received 50kg of maize flour and 10kg of beans. I don’t expect the food to last more than two weeks, yet during the recent disaster, I lost all the cassava, bananas, potatoes, beans and maize I had planted,” Birabi said.
A report from the URCS indicates that 117 households in Bushiyi sub-county were affected by the calamity.
In Bumayoka sub-county, 71 families were severely affected by the hailstorm, while the number of those who suffered a partial impact has not been established.
The Office of the Prime Minister, however, sent 300 bags of maize flour and 100 bags of beans, while Housing Finance Bank offered 20 cartons of bar soap, 2,640 plastic plates plus cups and 150 blankets.
To ensure considerate allocation of the food, Tumwa Wanambwa, the Manafwa URCS focal person, explained that the society decided to allocate food to households basing on the impact suffered during the disaster.
“Families that were severely hit got 50kg of maize flour and 10kgs of beans, while those that suffered partially got 10kg of maize flour and 4kg of beans. This calculation was based on the little that we had. Truth is, this food is not going to last long. The biggest form of help we can give these people is food and not the non-food items,” he said.
John Nambeshe, the Bududa district chairperson, said the relief food distributed to Bushiyi and Bumayoka subcounties was, in essence, meant for Bukalasi sub-county that had earlier on suffered a similar catastrophe.
“When heavy rains destroyed gardens in Bukalasi last month, we requisitioned for food to help the victims. Disaster, however, struck again before we received it. Considering the magnitude of the current disaster, we decided to reallocate the food to the two affected sub-counties,” Nambeshe said.
David Wakikona, the trade and co-operatives state minister, acknowledged the looming challenges.
“For these people to get back on their feet, it requires four months to allow them plant and harvest. As district leaders, we are going to pressurise the Government to secure more food for these families,” he stressed.