Mounting Food Concern In Terego District As Storm Devastates Crops, Buildings

A garden devastated by storm in Terego district

RICHARD DRASIMAKU

TEREGO: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 09, 2021

There is a mounting appeal for food and material support from residents in Terego district ravaged by violent storms since Friday.

Uriama and Bileafe sub-counties are hardest hit since heavy downpour accompanied by hailstorms and strong winds have been pummeling the area.

Shredded crop fields, flattened houses and uprooted trees litter the areas, as shaken residents anxiously wait for any news of incoming assistance.

The initial count puts the disaster affected households at 196 in Aripezu village, 50 in Aviconi village, Adripi parish in Bileafe sub-county and 1,600 households in Maraju and Ejoni parishes and undisclosed number of residents in Aribio, Olimoo and Awania villages in Otumbari parish, Uriama sub-county.

The district chairman Wilfred Saka said his production officer, Herbert Jurua, was yet to update him with the latest count since he was still busy in the field verifying and compiling a detailed report.

Many of the affected residents are now homeless and without food and some of them are being hosted by relatives.

The crops decimated include the staple cassava, simsim, beans, groundnuts, maize, sorghum, bananas and African birds eye red chilli.

Jurua estimated that about 150 acres of gardens were completely wiped out without possibility of recovery while a bigger acreage could still recover from the devastation.

Climate change blamed

He blames climate change for the increased volatility in the weather conditions which he warned is affecting food security negatively.

“Two weeks ago we were asking the sub-counties to compile a report on the effects of draught, now we have moved to the other end of the extremity,” the production officer said.

Terego district is located in the West Nile sub-region of Uganda that traditionally has had two distinct rainy (March to May and July to November) seasons and dry (June and December to February) seasons annually.

But Jurua said in recent times the seasons have become unpredictable in that the area experiences dry spells when locals who depend on nature expect rains and vice versa.

“Crops like simsim and beans are very fragile, they need average rain falls. This season people planted a lot of beans and simsim but those have been destroyed now,” he disclosed.

Some of the affected people were the councilor for Maraju parish, Francis Ojobile from Odroa village and Fadhil Aseni who had roofs of houses blown off and more than 10 other residents had their houses and shops completely reduced to rubble.

The rubble of a shop of Rose Ayikoru in which two attendants escaped with injuries

While Bibian Okunia from Yoro village estimated her loss at more than sh4m worth of food crops swept away and animals killed.

Proposed remedy

Jurua said the people need to pay close attention to the climatic conditions, plant trees and reduce on charcoal burning.

He also advises what he termed as climate smart agricultural practices anchored on timely planting of short-term crops and invest in irrigation facilities for those close to the streams to farm during the dry spells.

In the meantime, Terego West Member of Parliament, Joel Leku called for immediate support for the people from organizations of good will and the government.

He said the people are in dire need of food aid, building materials and short-term crops seeds to replant in the fields.

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