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Famine Killed Over 2,000 People In Karamoja In 2022-UHRC

The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has revealed that the prolonged dry spell that ravaged Karamoka dub-region claimed lives of 2,255 people in the districts of Kotido, Moroto, Kaabong and Napak.

The Commission made the shocking revelation in their 25th Annual Report on the State of Human Rights and Freedoms in Uganda in 2022 that was recently tabled before Parliament by the Chairperson of the Commission, Miriam Wangadya.

The report highlighted that Kotido district was most affected reading in part, “A total of 1,676 deaths were reported in Kotido due to starvation and related illnesses arising from the long dry spell and famine in 2022. The Northern Division sub-county had 99 severely malnourished children, while Kapeta sub-county had 216 severely malnourished children on the verge of death due to starvation.”

Details from the Commission indicate that most deaths were recorded in Rengen Sub-county with 330 deaths, Maaru Sub-county 164, Longaroe 167, Kacheri TC 176, Kacheri 256, Kanair Sub-county 143 and other deaths were in the rest of the district, apart from three sub-counties that never reordered deaths.

According to UHRC, there were 225 deaths due to starvation in Kaabong district of these, 104 makes and 121 females, with elderly above 60years being most affected.

The hunger was alarming in Napak district affecting 22,735 person’s and of these, 188 lost their lives, while in Moroto district, 35 people were reported to have died of starvation, while 131 died due to hunger related illnesses.

The UHRC attributed the deaths to adverse impacts on the environment caused manufactured factors and natural causes, the general environment and its inhabitants lost life resulting from harsh weather conditions such as  long dry spell that affected food crop production.

The Commission also noted that the famine  period also witnessed intensified theft, and insecurity in areas of Karamoja due to food shortages leaving many dead.

“Insecurity and intensified livestock raids and theft intensified in April 2022, leading to loss of lives and isolated incidents of death among the population. The fragility of the situation not only limited households from accessing their farms for fear of being killed but also continued to deny them to access income for food purchase and safe grazing area for their herds, ” read the report.

While reacting to the findings in the report, many lawmakers welcomed the findings of the Commission, attributing most deaths to the insecurity situation in Karamoja and asked UPDF to put in place a strategic offensive against the armed rustlers and urged that in fighting, the local innocent people should be protected

Ben Koryang (Dodoth West) said, “The UHRC is correct in their report about their killings in Karamoja and the situation isn’t good reason being, the armed warriors who haven’t been disarmed have become too dangerous to the population.”

Aleper Moses (Chekwii County) also weighed into the matter said that the people of Karamoja dealing with armed people and armed situations need definitely something that can counter that’s why the army needs to carry out a definite and systematic operation.

He blamed the Army for not involving local leaders in restoration of peace and security in Karamoja stating, “But the new techniques by the army, they didn’t involve the local leadership. ”

Achia Remigio (Pian County) who also doubles as Chairperson Karamoja Parliamentary Group had wondered why the numbers cited by UHRC didn’t include those who lost their lives during the infighting.

He said, “There  has been loss of lives, and mostly because of the failure to protect the local people most people have been killed in pursuit of the people who have stolen the animals or they’re found in their own kraals and they’re shot at at killed. By June 2022, the report was 3000, so these numbers were an understatement we have lost many people and continue to lose people. ”

However, despite the threats faced by the Karamojongs and attempts to have their plight amplified were stifled by the continuous threats to the lives of human rights defenders, activists according to UHRC, that warned the attackers on activities that such  work is very crucial to the sustainable economic growth of Uganda as an agricultural country.

The Commission in its recommendations argued the Army and Police to beef up security of lives and properties, have the Ministry of Agriculture enhance agriculture extension services to train farmers on modern agronomy practices among others..

The development comes at the time Parliament’s on Presidential Affairs that investigated the mismanaged of iron sheets, goats and items meant for the vulnerable Communities in Karamoja recommended to have the officials that hijacked the items to apologise to the nation and people of Karamoja.

 

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