The Ugandan government and the UN World Food Program will next month unveil a 64 million-dollar emergency response package to deal with the worsening food crisis in Karamoja.
State Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Musa Ecweru, said today that the Karamoja region is likely to slip into famine if no urgent action is taken. He said a massive crop failure has worsened the situation and acute malnutrition levels are close to emergency.
The food crisis in the region has been escalating for years. It was heightened by the 2007 floods and a severe drought which destroyed all the crops, putting over 970,000 people at risk of starvation.
Ecweru said the emergency response package will be used to purchase 89,000 metric tonnes of food for families most in need.
This is the second large emergency package delivered to deal with the Karamoja food crisis. In September last year parliament approved the disbursement of five billion shillings as an emergency fund to stave off the worst effects of the food crisis in northern and northeastern Uganda. But despite this, the food crisis continues to escalate.
The latest report from the Famine and Early Warning Systems Network blames widespread poverty and livestock disease on the continued food insecurity.
The UN children's fund (UNICEF) has said children are suffering the worst effects of the crisis. It says about 7,500 children in Karamoja are severely malnourished and 35,000 are moderately malnourished. In some of the districts acute malnutrition rates are above 15 per cent, a number that the World Health Organization says is a crisis threshold.
In addition to this 12,000 formerly internally displaced people who were resettled by government in Moroto district are faced with starvation.
Peter Locap, the Moroto LC5 chairperson, said last month that the IDPs in the areas of Lokitalegibu, Nakiyot and Nakitelet were hit by poor rains, late cultivated and unexpected water shortages.