A joint operation by the Government and the World Food Programme to avert famine in Karamoja and the neighbouring districts is underway, the state minister for disaster preparedness has announced. Musa Ecweru said the operation would cost about $64m to provide relief assistance to about 970,000 people in need of food. Addressing journalists at the Media Centre in Kampala on Friday, Ecweru said the operation would last up to October when the first harvests are expected in the region. [...] “Acute malnutrition is close to emergency levels and we have 10 months to go until the next harvest,” said Ecweru. He said the operation would be carried out in liaison with the local governments in the affected areas. The WFP country representative, Stanlake Samkange, said the operation was also aimed at ensuring that similar food crises do not occur in the future. “That is why we need to place emphasis on medium and longer term solutions to hunger. We want people in Karamoja to become net producers, so that we can actually buy food from them for emergencies elsewhere in future,” said Samkange.