Hunger in the news

22 April 2009

The region, for decades, has relied on food handouts from the World Food Programme and this year alone, the UN agency has to feed 970,000 Karimojong for over ten months. The area, among other problems, faces droughts and in 2008 there was 70 percent crop failure which explains the persistent famine. Latrine coverage in Karamoja is at 4 percent and the maternal mortality rates are 750 per 100,000. Only one out of every ten Karimojong can read and write with literacy rate at 11 percent, the lowest in the country. Child mortality rate under age of five is 174 per 1,000.

15 April 2009

The World Food Programme (WFP) plans to increase emergency food supplies to Karamoja so as to mitigate the hunger crisis in the region. The UN food aid agency said over 1,000,000 people in the region would receive 12kg of food each, up from 9kg. The increased supplies will run from this month till November, the agency said. [...] The WFP country director, Stanlake Samkange, also disclosed that they had established three more sub-offices in Kaabong, Nakapiripirit and Abim districts to coordinate the operations.

12 April 2009

The World Food Programme is to spend an additional $100m to feed the [Uganda] Karimojong over the next nine months. The country director, Stanlake Samkange, while meeting Moroto district local government officials at the district chamber hall on Tuesday said: "We decided to increase the food ratio by 20% so that the people can have enough food as they prepare their gardens." He said each resident would be given nine kilogrammes of maize and three kilogrammes of other items. "Let us work as a team to solve the interests of the people," he said

7 April 2009

My parents are peasants. They have seven children and work hard to produce enough food for the family, while the surplus is sold to get some income to afford other basic needs, such as clothes, scholastic materials and paying school fees. [...] However, in June 2003, while in my second year, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by the Joseph Kony, struck. They came right from northern Uganda to the east, killing and committing atrocities. Schools, including mine, had to close. [...] I stayed at an IDP camp for six month without studying. We used to survive on food relief distributed by the government and non-governmental organisations, like the World Food Programme and the Food and Agricultural Organisation.

29 March 2009

France last week signed a sh1.3b agreement to boost development in Karamoja and parts of Kampala.The grant will benefit seven projects, with one in Nakapiripirit district and six in Kampala. [...] The World Food Programme recently warned that food insecurity in drought-prone Karamoja would worsen in 2009, due to poor harvests last September.

12 March 2009

A Primary Seven candidate, 15-year-old Ocitti Walter Obote starts moving from home in Amuru IDP camp at 6a.m. to be able to get to Amuru Reckiekech Primary School, several miles away, at 8a.m. Yet at 1p.m., he has to find his way back home for lunch because the school doesn’t provide a meal for the pupils. He usually borrows a bicycle from his friends at school to ride home. However, on days when he can’t get a bike, he goes hungry the whole day. A unique initiative championed by the World Food Programme (WFP) aims to end Ocitti’s misery. Indeed his single mother, Milly Aol, is one of the parents that signed a commitment form to send their children to school with lunch daily. But the onus is still on the parent to provide the food. All that WFP is providing is sensitisation and a food container. [...] WFP, which had been providing lunch daily to some 380,000 pupils in northern Uganda since 2001, discontinued the programme last year –limiting it to only Karamoja. In a brief interview with The Weekly Observer, Stanlake J.T.M. Samkange, the WFP Representative and Country Director, explained that the UN agency may have changed strategy but would not abandon the communities it has been supporting. “In close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports, we are devising sustainable ways in which to help parents and guardians feed children in school in line with stated government policies, and as a safety net for vulnerable children,” he said.

12 March 2009

The World Food Programme (WFP) has stopped food aid to about 214,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northern Uganda. Since January, the programme phased out food aid for about 66,000 IDPs in Pader district, more than 58,000 others in Amuru district, about 60,000 in Kitgum and another 27,000 in Gulu district," the country director, Stanlake Samkange, said. He said the move was taken after consultation with humanitarian partners and district leaders.

9 March 2009

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) on Monday announced that it had stopped general food distributions for an estimated 214,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in war-torn northern Uganda. Stanlake Samkange, WFP Country Director, said in a statement that due to the "much improved security situation in the region", after over 20 years of war, the IDPs can now access farming land. He said the Global Acute Malnutrition in the region has also decreased and is now below 10 percent. [...] He said though the food aid agency has stopped the distribution, it will continue to monitor the food and nutrition security situation to avoid a relapse. "We will support phased-off IDPs through recovery initiatives including cash and vouchers, so as to help them rebuild their livelihoods," he said.

4 March 2009

Amuru District recorded the worst performance in last year’s Primary Leaving Examinations in Acholi sub-region because students are hungry. This was revealed by district Inspector of Schools Richard Irwenyo. He said pupils walk distances of up 7 kilometers and yet study on empty stomachs. In a bid to address the issue of hunger in schools, World Food Programme (WFP) in conjunction with the Ministry of Education have launched a strategy to feed school-going children in Amuru district. WFP Country Director Stanlake Samkange said that ensuring that parents send children to school with packed lunch is a cornerstone of this campaign.

4 March 2009

The ice caps on the Rwenzori Mountains along Uganda's western border have receded significantly in the past century and could disappear completely in the next few years, experts said. [...] South-western Uganda, where temperatures have risen by 0.3 degrees in a decade, is one of the hardest-hit areas in terms of disease outbreaks, especially malaria," Gwage said. A two-degree rise in temperature, he added, would see many areas in Uganda losing their main livelihood of cash crops, including coffee. Other crops such as cassava and soya would be affected by new pests, despite being staple crops. [...] Karamoja, in north-eastern Uganda, experiences cycles of natural disasters and inter-communal conflicts mainly over pasture, water and livestock. It has received very limited investment. In February, the UN World Food Programme noted it was on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, after drought cut agricultural output to as low as 30 percent in some areas in 2008