The Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hon. Eng Hilary Onek has flagged off food to be distributed to areas that have been famine struck in the Karamoja sub-region.

The Minister flagged off trucks carrying 552 metric tons of maize flour and 238 metric tons of beans to be distributed to over 500 most vulnerable groups in the disaster-prone districts of Kotido, Kaabong, Moroto, Napak, Karenga and Nabilatuk.

The flagging-off ceremony took place at the Office of the Prime Minister food stores in Namanve on Tuesday.

Hon. Onek said the government has committed ugx 135 billion towards supplying food relief to the Karamoja sub-region consecutively for the next three months.

He also acknowledged the donations amounting to 26 million dollars that have been received by the government from the development partners to support the Karamoja sub-region.

Minister Onek stressed that it was the first time the Karamoja sub-region was experiencing disasters related to famine and food crisis, which he attributed to insecurity and climate change in the area.

“Issues like cattle rustling and environmental degradation have escalated the problem of hunger in Karamoja. We need to find ways to adapt to the new climate changes and also utilise our scarce resources like the water bodies to fight hunger in the region,” Hon. Eng. Hilary Onek noted.

He relayed information that the department of relief and disaster preparedness is in the process of launching a long-term disaster risk management plan which aims to divert disasters including floods using technology.

The Woman Member of Parliament for Napak District, Hon. Nakut Faith called for concerted efforts towards the cause of supporting the Karamoja sub-region with relief to avert the crisis.

“What we need now is what can enable the people of Karamoja to survive. We cannot afford to indulge in playing the blame game but support the government in rescuing the people of Karamoja. Our ultimate goal should focus on boosting production and engaging in highly mechanised agriculture to solve such a crisis,” Nakut said.

The Head of Partnerships Development at the World Food Programme in Uganda, Mr Magnus Bruun-Rasmussen said the World Food Programme is committed to collaborating with the government of Uganda and has donated 21 million dollars towards the purchase of food for the Karamoja sub-region.

The flag-off ceremony was also witnessed by the government officials. End.