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Finance tasked to provide Ushs 135b for Karamoja

By Sarah Achen Kibisi.

Government tasked the Ministry for Finance to urgently provide Shs135 billion for the procurement of food to alleviate the hunger crisis in Karamoja Sub-region, amid complaints of inadequate interventions by area Members of Parliament.

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja this month told Parliament that the funds will be used to procure food for three months, as well as seeds for planting.

“Cabinet sitting on Monday noted the concerns of our brothers and sisters in Karamoja and came up with resolutions…We shall do anything in our power to make sure we do not lose any lives anymore,” Ms Nabbanja told Parliament.

In the immediate term, Ms Nabbanja said 200 tonnes of food were earlier on dispatched from the Prime Minister’s office.

She was responding to complaints of delayed and inadequate interventions into the hunger crisis afflicting the people by area MPs. Ms Faith Nakut (Napak Woman) told the House that more than 600 starvation-related deaths had been recorded in the districts of Kotido, Napak, Moroto, and Kaabong

“We found out that our people were starving, literally dying. I visited some village where I found a family of three had died due to starvation,” Ms Nakut said.

She added: “We acknowledge there have been responses by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), food was distributed in Karamoja, each district settling for 150 tonnes of maize floor and beans targeting the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, the quantities supplied were not reasonable to feed a family for a week.”

Ms Nakut, citing a food security report, said 518,000 people are “waiting to die” if no action is taken immediately, and appealed to the OPM, to avoid procurement bureaucracies as because people are in dire need of food.

Moroto City MP, Mr Frank Adome said the hunger crisis has persisted and requires sustainable solutions.

Meanwhile, Moroto Woman MP, Stella Atyang called for urgent intervention because they have lost a lot of lives and elders and children are stunted. “We appeal to international community to help government and supplement on what government has offered,” said Atyang.

Iki county MP, Hillary Lokwakung explained that it’s important for government to come up with a disaster plan in a bid to avert famine in the region.

Budadiri East’s Johny Ssasaga said: “The issue of famine cuts across the whole country. Where food is, there are those who cannot afford, while in other places, there is no food. The prime minister should come up comprehensively and tell us how they are addressing famine in the country.”

Amuria Woman MP, Ms Susan Amero said the government should revisit its priorities and invests in issues that affect the people, especially regarding the vagaries of climate change by adopting approaches such as irrigation. The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, who chaired the sitting, tasked the prime minister to furnish the House with details of measures being taken to address the food scarcity crisis across the whole country ■

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