Kotido Residents Leave Their Homes in Search of Food

Emmanuel Lodio, the Kotido district speaker told Uganda Radio Network that the hunger situation in the district it forcing people to flee trying to look for survival somewhere else.
A group of people mostly mothers are seen waiting for a truck to load as they prepare to migrate out of Kotido district

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Families in Kotido district have started migrating to nearby districts of Abim and Teso sub region in search for food as hunger persists

At least 200 people have already left Kotodo since Wednesday mainly women and children who are migrating to seek casual jobs that will enable them to earn a living.

Emmanuel Lodio, the Kotido district speaker told Uganda Radio Network that the hunger situation in the district it forcing people to flee trying to look for survival somewhere else.

Lodio said at least two lorries of people are leaving Kotido going to other areas of Teso, Acholi and Lango on a daily basis.

Lodio revealed that there are fears that more people are going to leave their homes and flee to where they can find hope for survival than waiting for death at home. He feared that the crisis is more likely to be worse over the coming months because all the little harvests that were realized have been sold off and there is no hope for government intervention.

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John Choko, the speaker for Longaroe sub county in Kotido district said people did not cultivate enough last year because of the insecurity and unpredictable weather that frustrated farmers.

Choko said most families had distant gardens in the bushes and they could not access them for fear of being attacked by the suspected warriors who took charge of the jungle.

He revealed that even the little food, mostly sorghum, people were forced to sell off because it was the only available source of money yet families were lacking other household items and medication.

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Maria Naduk, a mother of five children residing in Panyangara sub county said the food they harvested could not take them for more than two months if stored. She  says they have resorted to move away because government has not kept their promise to supply them with food.

She added that if the government does not intervene and distribute food, many lives might be lost and they cannot wait for that to happen. ‘’They tell us that the government is bringing food, when they bring they say it is only for the most vulnerable families and yet we are all staring at the worst famine," said Naduk.

Meanwhile, John Bosco Akore, secretary for the Kotido Elders Council observed that women and children are fleeing their homes because of persisted insecurity in the region.

Akore said the warriors have shifted their wrath to women whom they are accused of revealing their secrets and women have lost their lives forcing several others to run away in search of refuge. Akore also blamed the leadership of Kotido district for stopping the people from running away from the problems which the government has failed to address.

‘’I have also learnt that our people are being beaten even from where they have gone to seek for refuge. I do not know if there is a law in Uganda that restricts Karamojong from running away when they have problems," added Akore.

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However, Ambrose Onoria, the resident district commissioner for Kotido confirmed the incident saying people are migrating not because of hunger but instead to search for casual labour in order to get money.

Onoria said most of the people migrating are widows whose husbands were killed during raids and the young children who have nothing to support the families. He  also revealed that the government and other development partners have supplied enough food in Kotido district and it is a shame to see people leaving their homes in the name of hunger.

He said as a district they thought it wise to start restricting the migration of these people because they were portraying like there is totally no support for them from the government.

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A report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) indicates that about 518,000 people, approximately 40 percent of the population in the Karamoja sub-region, are facing high levels of food insecurity.