Hundreds of people have died of famine in Uganda’s Karamoja region, and local leaders say that some people are now eating grass to survive.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) estimated that about 518,000 people from Karamoja’s poorest families face critical food insecurity resulting from two seasons of crop failure.
Of the 518,000 people with high levels of food insecurity, 428,000 are experiencing phase three (crisis levels of food insecurity), and 90,000 are at phase four (emergency levels of food insecurity).
For the first time in three years, all the nine districts of Karamoja: Kaabong, Moroto, Kotido, Napak, Nabilatuk, Amudat, Karenga, Abim and Nakapiripit are at crisis level or worse according to IPC classification. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) uses a scale of one to five to measure food insecurity. The situation in Karamoja has reached a crisis level close to catastrophe level.
High food prices have left many families unable to afford nutritious foods.
“The situation in Karamoja is an example of how a perfect storm of climate change, conflict, rising food costs, the impact of Covid-19 and limited resources is increasing the number of hungry people,” said Abdirahman Meygag, WFP Uganda Representative.
Farmers from regions other than Karamoja have complained of poor or no harvests. Kaleb Ejioninga from the West Nile region along the border between Uganda and DRC is among those whose crops have withered before harvest.
“We planted maize and sorghum. They all wilted. The government should come to our rescue. If possible, they should find us quick-maturing seed varieties. Because even when the rain comes, if we plant the same seed, they may not grow,” Ejioninga appealed.
“The problem is known. Climate change is real." Uganda’s Minister for Agriculture, Frank Tumwebaze said.
Tragic Irony of Hunger Deaths in Karamoja, Uganda | Inter Press Service (ipsnews.net)
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