With lockdown extended until 19 May 2020, government continues to support vulnerable poor within Kampala and Wakiso districts with relief food.
Other districts upcountry like Jinja, among others have also been partway supported. It’s yet to go completely nationally.
According to the State Minister for ICT & NG, Hon Peter Ogwang, as at May 07, 2020, 889,198 people in 319,876 households in Wakiso and Kampala districts had got relief food.
This means that we have so far distributed 5,318,834kgs of maize flour, 2,798,839kgs of beans, 8,157kgs of Lato milk and 18,174kgs of sugar, he added.
Uganda Red Cross working with government
On 4th April, 2020, government started food distribution to vulnerable people in Kampala district affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The exercise was commissioned by the Hon. Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda. The Premier is also the chairperson Coronavirus Response Team for relief food distribution campaign.
The pilot was to be done in Bwaise, one of the Kampala’s biggest suburbs and would proceed to Wakiso, which is another high risk district for the COVID-19 pandemic – according to the Prime Minister.
“Many people were affected by the nationwide lockdown, they have no food among other pressing basic needs. We will do the test run in Bwaise and later scale up to all areas affected, resources permitting,” he added, then.
Uganda Red Cross [URC] through their technical team led by Mr Paul Okot, the Emergency Response Manager during the launch noted that there was need to prioritize the most vulnerable people considering the available resources that government moblised.
“We used sphere standards and local experience we have over time in distributing relief to develop standard operating procedures, determine how government will select the vulnerable and how distribution should be done. Beneficiaries will be given sugar, milk, maize flour and beans,” Mr Okot in April.
He further added that Uganda Red Cross plays a secondary role to government if authorizes during such emergencies.
The Red Cross teams are supporting in activities like beneficiary registration, food distribution and hand washing / hygiene promotion, risk communication and offering pyscho-social support to those who will need such services.
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In Wakiso, some district leader raised concerns as to why their inputs were never sought in the food distribution exercise.
Wakiso RDC Rose Kirabira raised a question in April why district task force members were omitted from the food distribution exercise. The RDC also accused some local [village] leaders of intentionally omitting names of other vulnerable poor as beneficiaries.
In the same month, Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga ordered for suspension of food distribution in Kampala and Wakiso districts.
The Speaker said the exercise was “discriminatory and not national”, adding that government should have first asked Parliament.