Kampala – Uganda on Thursday said several people had died “because of hunger” in one of the country’s poorest and most lawless regions, with local officials saying hundreds had perished.
The Ugandan prime minister’s office on Thursday did not provide exact figures for the number of deaths in Karamoja region.
More than half a million people are going hungry in Karamoja, some 40 percent of the population of this neglected, long-suffering rural region between South Sudan and Kenya.
The region has experienced harsh drought and last year witnessed damaging floods and landslides.
There have also been plagues of locusts and army worms, and raids by heavily-armed cattle thieves which have left little to eat.
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“As government, we acknowledge the famine situation in Karamoja where we have reports of deaths due to starvation,” a spokesman for the prime minister told AFP a day after a meeting with the region’s politicians.
The prime ministry announced it would send 200 metric tonnes of aid and mobilise $36 million to buy food for the region for the next three months.
“The situation in Karamoja is worse than envisaged with hundreds so far dead and many waiting to die due to starvation,” a local lawmaker, Faith Nakut, said, who attended the meeting with the prime minister on Wednesday.
Nakut told AFP that 46 people died in Napak district by July 8 while 189 died in Kaabong district. There were further deaths in two other districts, she said, but could not provide exact figures.
“Thousands of children and the elderly are at high risk of deaths as a result of starvation,” she warned.
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