The Salvation Army’s International Emergency Services team arrived in Uganda on September 10 to assist with drought relief efforts. A drought this severe has not been seen in the area for more than 60 years.
Canadian officer/pastor Major Rick Shirran, a member of the team, reports:
“The people of North East Uganda are facing the effects of two disasters. The drought was the first disaster. With the failure of the rains to arrive in the growing season, the crops that the villagers relied on to get them through, did not do well, and many crops died out. So they planted again. Then the second disaster struck. Heavy rains in the mountains caused massive flooding and landslides. The flooding continued down the mountainside and flash flooded the fields that had been freshly planted completely washing away any hope of a crop.”
The Salvation Army will provide food aid, (maize flour and beans) to 4,000 families in nine parishes North East of Mbale, close to the Ugandan National Park and the Kenyan border. The project will also provide for the drilling of bore holes for these districts, which will allow villagers access to safe, clean drinking water.
The distribution of 15 Kg or maize flour and 10 Kg of beans per family unit is set to begin on September 19. This amount will serve to supplement their meagre food stores. “However,” says Major Shirran, “there are a number of factors that could hinder these plans, the main one being the weather. If the rains come again, as they have been almost every day, the roads become impassable. If this happens we will have to reschedule the distribution.”