Uganda’s remote drought-affected Karamoja region gets U.S. help

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The United States Government has donated US$ 4.8million towards the
emergency relief operation of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in the drought-affected Karamoja region in north eastern Uganda.

Karamoja is one of the remotest areas in Uganda, and the world at large.
The Karamoja area is also known for its harsh famines as well as the ruthlessness of cattle rustlers famously known to kill each other in order to steal cows.

According to a statement issued today by WFP spokesperson in Uganda, Lydia Wamala, the contribution will be delivered through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“The donation is in response to poor harvests in the region in the past
three consecutive years due to the erratic rainfall. With the return of rains to Karamoja this year, we are optimistic about the upcoming harvest.

“However, we have serious concerns that the nutritional status of the most
vulnerable people in Karamoja will deteriorate before the harvest, therefore an immediate response is critical to prevent the population from resorting to destructive coping mechanisms,” said David Eckerson, the USAID/Uganda Mission Director.

A health, nutrition, food security and mortality assessment was conducted in December 2009 by WFP, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and
Makerere University.

The study found that about 22 percent of Karamoja households did not cultivate any food crops in 2009 and of the 78 percent that did, over 70 percent of them did not harvest substantial amounts. Over 50 percent of households owned no animals due to livestock diseases, cattle raiding and other challenges.

The emergency operation in Karamoja is part of a larger effort by WFP and
the Government of Uganda to address hunger and longer term food security
issues in the region. Together they are looking to strengthen livelihoods and support the building of community assets that can reduce hunger and food insecurity in the longer term.

The Karamoja productive Asset Programme (KPAP) is in line with the Government’s Karamoja Action Plan for Food Security and currently targets up to 411,000 people in the five districts in Karamoja.

This is the second donation made by the United States to WFP’s emergency
operation in 2010. In December 2009, it donated US$6.8 million to the

The U.S. Government is the biggest contributor to WFP Uganda, supporting a wide range of operations including emergency, child safety-net programmes and the Purchase for Progress initiative.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.
Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people around the world.

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