NAPAK– Etop Blessing Uganda Foundation [EBUF] in conjunction with Teso Students Development Association has donated food aid including1,500 kilogrammes of maize flour and 600 kilogrammes of beans to Napak district where hunger has hit most families.
The food will be distributed to families hit by hunger.
Blessing Uganda foundation is a youth-led charity organisation based in Jinja but extends its helping hand to the rest of the country whenever there is a disaster.
Joseph Ojatum, the founder of EBUF said the food aid is to be distributed to the most affected families.
He explained that they decided to contribute after realising pleas by the Members of Parliament about the surging cases of hunger-related deaths in their constituencies, which came about due to the prolonged dry spell that has failed agricultural production, creating a food crisis.
According to him, the food aid to Napak district is a partnership between Teso Students Development Association and Karamojong Student Development Association. The collaboration also aims to unite the people of Teso and Karamoja.
“This is an effort to help our community of people worst hit by hunger in this Sub Region of Karamoja. This won’t only stop in delivering aid but also to lobby from government for irrigation schemes and valley dams to help in farming during a dry spell,” he said.
Ojatum said that though the food aid is not enough, it could help the affected people prepare a meal to enable them to get some body strength.
“We believe everyone has a right to a life free of poverty and hunger. Having food and decent shelter is a right of every human being and therefore in doing this, we are trying to contribute to having a secure and more equitable society,” he said.
John Lobur, the parish chief of Kayepas parish in Napak district, one of the parishes benefiting from the relief aid said the situation in the district is currently alarming.
“The food insecurity and malnutrition problems in Karamoja keep getting worse each passing day as drought takes its toll on the region”, he said.
“Inconsistence weather pattern as you can see has affected the farmlands and the aspect of food security is not realizable. In the gardens, crops are not grown, others are drying up,” Lobur added.
According to him, the community had been earning a living from charcoal burning and firewood but the Sub County of Lokopo has banned charcoal burning and felling of trees down.
“Sometimes we even arrested some who cut trees to burn charcoal, we have advised them now to just cut branches and use them for firewood and sell rather than cutting the whole tree,” he said.
Lobur appealed to well-wishers and organizations to continue supporting the affected communities, especially with food aid.
“People are not lazy but the weather has often betrayed them, leaving some starving. My people either get meals by chance or nothing at all,” Lobur stated.
John Paul Kodet, the LCV chairperson Napak district told theCooperator that the situation is getting out of control.
He revealed that hundreds of mostly elderly people have died in the past five months and mass burials are on the cards if no state intervention is lined up.
“We are in a situation where if we do not act now, we must prepare to bury more people. Right now, many people go for days without food,” he said before asking, “How do you expect such people to survive?”
Alfred Oteger, the National chairperson Teso Student Development Association said as students, they would continue mobilizing within their means to support the community not forgetting the move to reunite Iteso and Karamoja.
“We want to build a lost lasting unity between Iteso and Karamoja aside from this move to restore hope in their lives,” he said.
Across the region, about 91,600 children and 9,500 pregnant or breastfeeding women are suffering from acute malnutrition and need treatment, according to the latest assessment by humanitarian agencies and foreign donors.
Insecurity, cattle rustling, COVID-19 aftershocks, rising food prices, climate change, and limited resources are some of the factors pushing thousands of Karimojong households into destitution, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification [IPC] analysis released in Kampala on June 8.
Karamoja is one of the poorest regions in Uganda with a poverty rate of 66 percent, more than three times the national poverty rate.
However, this is the first time in three years that all the nine districts of Karamoja; Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Karenga, Kotido, Moroto, Nabilatuk, Nakapiripit and Napak are at food crisis level or worse.
Humanitarian agencies say 48 percent of the households in the region have depleted their essential livelihood assets, including consuming seed stocks to cope with the situation.
“It is anticipated that the food security situation will slightly improve in the projection period [August 2022 – February 2023], with a reduction of the population in crisis level from 518,000 [41 percent] to 315,000 [25 percent].
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