The Minister for
Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hillary Onek says that the Office of
the Prime Minister is set to establish 5 regional centers to manage disasters.
These will cost a
total of 899.4 billion Shillings (US Dollars 234million).
Minister Onek made the
statement on Thursday while appearing before Parliament’s Presidential Affairs
Committee which is currently inquiring into the government’s interventions in the
famine and hunger situation in the Karamoja sub-region.
He told MPs that the government
had developed a robust disaster risk management plan, which was recently approved
by Cabinet to help mitigate impending disasters across the country.
According to Onek, his
Ministry intends to timely confront the disasters through well positioned
regional centers in the East, North, South, West and Central. He says that the government has already committed $50 million to establish the
He said that the
regional centers will enable the government to quickly respond to disasters in different areas and also help prepare the population to respond to risks.
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Onek also appealed for
an independent vote and budget for the Ministry for Relief and Disaster, saying
that this will help them respond to disasters. Currently, the Directorate of
Disaster Preparedness and Management is managed under the Office of the Prime
The Minister says that
this department cannot independently plan adequately for the country, which partly explains the late response by the government to disasters.
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the Acting Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness and Management, told the
committee that government has since March this year distributed 2,562,000
kilograms of maize flour and 1,281,000 kilograms of beans as relief food to the
affected districts in Karamoja sub region.
With the entire Karamoja having a population of 1.2million, it means on average everyone has received 2 kilos of maize flour and one kilo of beans.
She also expressed
concern over the inadequate funding for disaster preparedness and
management as well as the absence of a new fleet of vehicles to ease relief food
distribution given the rising number of victims.
Benjamin Kamukama, the
Ruhaama East questioned whether the issue of having a specific vote and
Ministry for Disaster had been presented to Cabinet and what the response was.
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Tonny Awany, the Nyowa
County MP also supported the idea of establishing a stand alone Ministry to
tackle disasters with an independent budget.
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Francis Adome, the
Moroto Municipality MP called for a sustainable intervention in Karamoja, proposing
that the people be empowered to engage more in agriculture. He also said
that it was disturbing that the ministry did not have adequate funds to respond
James Mamawi, the
Adjumani East MP also urged the government to invest in production as a long-term plan to mitigate famine and hunger in Karamoja.
Jesca Ababiku, the Presidential
Affairs Committee Chairperson proposed that the political and cultural
leaders in Karamoja engage local communities in a bid to shape their mindset
into productivity and self-reliance.