The Famine Early Warning Systems Network published their March Update on Uganda on the 29th March 2019. What is says is very troublesome. Especially the main message. They not yet declaring famine in the region of Karamoja, but however, they are stating the warning signs as the lean season is hitting the region. Especially two districts are in troubling times.
This I will show with the statement from FEWS NET themselves and their classification. Even if it is only on level IPC 3, the famine is IPC 5 and IPC 4 is a Crisis. So, the region is close to danger and should get quick attention. To ensure, that the districts in question have the needs. The Ministry for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Refugees, should together with other agencies ensure the needs are met for the rising food prices. The FEWS NET is worried about the March to May, as they are thinking it could terrible levels. Even if forecast seems better between June to September 2019.
Here is the warning from FEWS NET. Take a look.
– Have food consumption gaps which are reflected by high or above-usual acute malnutrition;
– Are marginally able to meet minimum food needs but only by depleting essential livelihood assets or through crisis-coping strategies” (FEWSNET – ‘ Integrated Phase Classification’).
“In Karamoja, household food gaps continue to widen as the lean season progresses, driven by limited income earning opportunities and rising food prices. Sorghum retail prices in Karamoja reference markets remained above the 2018 average in February, but below the five-year average. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes prevail, mostly in Kotido and Kaabong. In bimodal areas, favorable staple food prices continue to sustain household food access despite below-average income from agricultural labor and seasonal declines in household food stocks, maintaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. Although prices are seasonally increasing, they remain below the 2018 average and near to below the five-year average” (FEWSNET – ‘Uganda Key Message Update, March 2019’ 29.03.2019).
This here should a warning, because the FEWS Net are usually right on the money. They have been in other instances elsewhere. Where their projections and their forecast has hit right on the money. The State House, the Ministry as mentioned and other agencies should start working in the region. Especially in Kotido and Kaabong district. As there it will be the most dire. That is if they even care about the possible heartache and lack of resources that is there. They need to shelter and supply with needed goods to secure the food security.
Surely, they will await it to come to levels of IPC 4 or IPC 5, when the districts are already in a crisis or in a famine. Because, acting before the first warning sign is to much to ask. To patch the hurt early, should be a main focus. But don’t count on it. Especially with the handlers and the politicians eagerly eating in Kampala, but forgetting the life up-country. Peace.