In Karamoja, 5 x 5 = Chronic Hunger

A malnourished little boy sits outside a hospital near the town of Moroto in Karamoja. Copyright: WFP/Wayne Conradie

Karamoja, a poor region in northeastern Uganda, faces at least five problems when it comes to beating hunger, among them weak agriculture and environmental degradation. On top of that, persistent drought has meant the region hasn't had a successful harvest for five years. Watch the clip

KARAMOJA -- The people of Karamoja, a poor region in northeastern Uganda , face at least five perennial problems when it comes to building livelihoods and beating hunger: weak agriculture, severe environmental degradation, poor infrastructure, high poverty rates and gun violence.

Combine those five things with a drought that has now devastated harvests for five straight years and the result is a dangerously high level of hunger and malnutrition, especially among children.

Karamoja is now entering the toughest time of the year – the hunger season – when food is even scarcer because the next harvest is still months away. It’s during this time that children are most vulnerable to malnutrition.

The effects of prolonged hunger on young children are devastating. Mental and physical growth can both be compromised -- irreversibly. WFP’s priority is to stop this happening.

We have launched an emergency operation to get nutritious food to pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children. Food distributions are combined with health check ups and nutritional advice for mothers.

Karamoja - 5 hunger facts

  1. Over 80 percent of Karamoja’s population live below the poverty line.
  2. The region is prone to increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters, especially droughts, in part due to climate change.
  3. Over time, the combination of natural disasters, gun violence, severe environmental destruction, poor infrastructure, high poverty rates and weak agriculture has eroded people’s capacity to cope.
  4. The region’s last successful main harvest was in 2005 
  5. Nearly 54 percent all the region’s young children are stunted, a result of chronic hunger. This means that between age 0-2 years, these children went for long periods without the right nutrients.