By Halima Athumani
A new weather pattern threatens to worsen food insecurity in Uganda’s northeastern Karamoja region, according to a report.
The Ugandan government and the World Food Programme (WFP) released a study on Monday, which shows that the average monthly rainfall in the region has increased by two months over the last 35 years, thus leading to severe flooding and drought.
Siddharth Krishnaswamy, the head of WFP Food Security Analysis in Uganda, said: “This unpredictability was found to undermine agricultural production, thereby threatening to aggravate food insecurity in Karamoja.”
As a result, WFP states that the rising temperatures threaten the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves in the region, therefore reducing availability of water for crops and animals.
Last month, Minister for Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru said 38 deaths had been recorded in less than four months in Karamoja.
According to the report, Uganda is expected to spend around $406 million until 2020 in order to adapt to climate change.
“The cost of inaction on the other hand is 20 times greater and estimated at between $3.1 billion and $5.9 billion per year by 2025,” read the report.
Karamoja comprises of seven districts with a population of a little over 1 million, of which nearly half are supported by WFP. It is the most impoverished region in the East African country with the weakest development indicators.
El Khidir Daloum the WFP country director said: “If we try to address the root causes of the situation, then climate change cannot be ignored at this time.”
The government has acknowledged that the region suffers from chronic food insecurity, which severely affects 12 percent of the population.