Bujumba MP Julius Mukasa Opondo has appealed for government intervention in the island district of Kalangala, saying fishermen are facing a hunger crisis following government’s move to arrest and detain those involved in illegal fishing.
Speaking to journalists at Parliament, Opondo said that while it’s true the fishermen use illegal fishing gear, government should instead help them by putting in place a fund from which poor people can borrow to buy the recommended gear, rather than using the army to terrorize them.
Opondo says he has now sought audience with the minister of disaster preparedness Hillary Onek to help his constituents with food relief.
He also explained that being an island district, Kalangala’s source of livelihood is fishing, and therefore any disruption to fishing actitivities will have catastrophic consequences.
Meanwhile, an estimated 1,095 pupils in primary schools in Apac and Amolatar districts dropped out of school last term due to hunger as starvation in the drought prone districts reaches worrying levels. Local authorities said desperate school children in most rural areas abandoned school to search for fish in the nearby Lake Kyoga as alternative meals for their families.
While it is a nationwide problem, residents in some parts of Teso, including school children and elderly women and men, have been captured in television footages harvesting termites from ant-hills, hunting down edible rats and picking wild leaves locally called ecomai in desperate efforts to fix a meal amid biting hunger.