By Steven Ariong
Karamoja — More than 700 animals in Karamoja Sub-region have died since December as drought hits the area, forcing many pastoralists to move for long distances in search of water and pasture.
Mr Francis Kiyonga, the district chairperson of Amudat, said: “Our people have lost cows and every day cows and donkeys are dying of starvation due to lack of water and pasture in the district.”
“As leaders, we are now not really sure of how to save the livestock because the pastoralists of Amudat, Nakapiripirit and parts of Napak always cross to the wetland areas of Lokilotor and Bunambutye at the border between Kween and Bulambuli districts during the dry spell, but a Chinese investor has converted the area into a rice Scheme,” he said at the weekend.
Mr Mark Apaloris, a pastoralist in Nakapelimoru Sub-county in Kotido District, said he has lost 10 cows to draught since December last year.
He described the drought as unfortunate, adding that several animals have become malnourished.
He said Kobebe dam, which is the major source of water in the area, is about to dry up.
Mr John Dengel, another pastoralist in Moroto, appealed to the government to construct proper valley dams that can keep high volumes of water during the dry season.
“We thank government for constructing some valley dams, but most of these valley dams are shallow, they dry up very fast because they don’t keep much water,” he said.
Mr Paul Chemusto in Amudat said the main river, where they used to draw water for the animals, dried up. He appealed to government for immediate intervention before the situation worsens.
Mr Joseph Lomonyang, the Napak District chairperson, said the drought was the worst the sub-region had ever experienced.
“Imagine by April, Karamoja usually gets some rain but there is no rain, not even a single drop of water,” he wondered.
Mr Ambrose Lotukei, the Kotido District chairperson, said government needs to construct multipurpose dams that can act as water reservoirs for animals.