“I am buying a second belt for my stomach in addition to the one for my trousers” says a man in Isingiro, in the district that is hunger stricken, famine and drought.
Isingiro District Veterinary Officer Dr Bruhan Kasozi told a radio that the district is currently experiencing what could be its worst dry spell in a decade.
The continued reports of famine and draught in Isingiro District happens and the Government tries to react, but with very little effect. The relief is mediocre at best, not even well-prepared even as the draught has been steady since mid-year in 2015. The Livestock and water issue is rising, there been reported that 8 kids has lost their life during the recent week because of the starvation. This is the people of district that is in the hands of government doesn’t have effort, will or care to really change the pattern of the famine in Isingiro District. Here is what I collected of the continued situation. Something that is not what it’s supposed to be, the Police still over-react in the nation as even Local Councillors are detained for opening a Livestock market in the needs in the district.
This is happening as the State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness Hon. Musa Ecweru said: “The hunger situation in the country is serious especially in the cattle corridor. We are starting the relief program from Isingiro district because of the magnitude of the problem” (NBS TV Uganda, 01.11.2016).
“The State minister for relief and disaster preparedness, Musa Ecweru, is calling for serious interventions to tame adverse weather conditions causing calamities in the country. The minster said this Yesterday while in Isingiro district where he was distributing food relief items to residents hit by famine due to the long drought” (91.2 Crooze FM, 05.11.2016).
As the reported deliver on the 4th November after months of draught and famine, was this:
“In Isingiro District where famine rages on, government has delivered food aid, each recipient got at least one cupful of flour and beans. There are reports that a number of people and animals have died of starvation” (NBS TV Uganda, 04.11.2016).
Like again on the 5th November the LC2 Chairperson of Kayonza Parish in Isingiro District. Here the locals lined up for more posho and beans… to fill their cups of starving tummies in the parish.
Detained for opening the Livestock market:
“The chairman LC 5 for Isingiro district has been arrested and put to prison after attempting to reopen the animal markets that were closed down by the government following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. He’s been arrested under the orders of the area RDC Mr Herbert Muhangi citing defiance of the district leader. The chairman Kamurari Jeremiah Birungi has been planning to reopen the markets and has been informing the public that today Thursday is the day to operationlise the markets regardless of the central government’s directive and the quarantine. He was found in Endiinzi sub county where he had gone to open the market” (OMO Blaze Media House, 03.11.2016).
Preparation from the Iqra Foundation:
“Asalam alaykum brothers and sisters preparations for for Isingiro district relief in progress areas to be visted are saa no 260, Rukungiri 278, Mbale 334, Kashariira 270, Mule mâ 480 ….families thanks to Mr Amin from Kotecha family Eng Fahir , Beejay,Fred Kafooko etc now at Iqra foundation mbarara mosque with 20 tones maize flower and 3.5 sugar please send more we are leaving tomorrow at 7 am may Allah the Almighty bless you all”.
“Muslims in Western Uganda have extended relief to several families in Bukanga County – one of the most drought-hit areas. It`s addition to donations coming from various humanitarian organizations. Among the food items, were posho flour, rice and sugar, handed to some 1,700 households” (Urban Television, 07.11.2016).
And you know the draught is serious when the prices of Jerry-cans of water cost up to 1, 500 shillings. Before the draught the price of water in Jerry-cans cost about 200 or 300 shillings. So this proves that the starving and lack of water is striking the prices of the necessary. The biggest delivery are from a NGO and not the Government. So the Iqra Foundation is doing much more than the State, which is really the epitome of this Administration under President Museveni who is reckless policy on his own behalf. This is as the Second Minister Kibazanga
“The nation’s northeastern Karamoja region is the worst hit with two in three people having access to only half a meal or less per day, Christopher Kibazanga, minister of state for agriculture, said in an e-mailed statement from the capital, Kampala. Teso sub-region and the western district of Isingiro are also badly affected” (…) “There is fear if individuals and families do not manage the available food stocks at household levels well, the situation can quickly deteriorate to the emergency and famine stages of food insecurity within the next two months,” Kibazanga said” (Ojambo, 2016).
So the Ministers Kibanzanga and Ecweru are saying that this is serious business and how hard the area is hit. Still, the deliverance of emergency relief has been meagre from the government as even Local Councillor has complained at the rate; still the good news is that the Muslim relief has come. This is coming as the lack of rain and continues draught at the area. Prices of livestock have fallen and the price of water from the Jerry-Cans has gone up 5 times recently.
More on the Livestock market:
“According to Kangwagye, once the livestock markets are reopened people would easily sell of their animals and get money to meet their other needs. Kangwagye told URN that he intends to join other leaders to ensure the livestock markets are reopened. Kangwagye’s statements come a day after Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries Minister; Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja accused Isingiro leaders of undermining the livestock quarantine. On Saturday, Sempijja accused the local authorities for politicizing the livestock quarantine, which compromises efforts by Ministry to eliminate the foot and mouth disease from Isingiro district. According to Sempijja, instead of backing the quarantine, politicians in Isingiro district are mobilizing livestock farmers to reopen the closed livestock markets. The Animal Diseases Act only mandates the Commissioner in Charge of Animal Health to lift quarantine. Any person who defies the quarantine faces a fine of Shillings 2 million or 2 years in prison or both” (100.4 Hills FM Kabale, 07.11.2016).
So the continues hunger and issues are coming to the surface as the Livestock issue is not stopping, the management and administration from the government is really weak. Therefore the Ministers are even criticising their government response to draught and deaths in the districts.
What is striking is how the Ugandan People through help is now starting to donate money to get food for the Isingiro, both Muslims and Christian NGOs are doing and planning to deliver food to the needy. The interesting is that the NGOs are giving more than the Government. The report of one cup of Beans and Posho is really not a real relief in the midst of a famine and draught that lasts months on end.
The ends have to come and the state has to deliver, also show plans of progression, if not to talk about new plans of collecting water and serving these communities; which should be priority, this problem where even there when the President and his team went on campaigns in the district.
So the reality is bleak and what is worse is all the men and woman, even kids are starving because of the continued draught. The Famine has to be sorted and the Government actually act responsible to the citizens of the district.
Ojambo, Fred – ‘Uganda Says 1.3 Million People Are Facing Hunger Due to Drought’ (04.11.2016) link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-04/uganda-says-1-3-million-people-are-facing-hunger-due-to-drought