Hunger, famine forces Karimojong to eat animal hides and skins

Hunger, famine forces Karimojong to eat animal hides and skins
Women with the animal skins

Moroto, Uganda | URN | Residents of Lotisan sub-county in Moroto district have resorted to boiling hides and skins for food as the hunger situation worsens in the Karamoja sub-region.

The hides, which usually serve as bedding materials, are soaked in water until they soften before they are cut into small pieces and prepared for a meal. The residents claim that they have eaten everything around them and the only items remaining are hides and skins, which they have been using as beddings. They however note that the hunger situation has left them with no option, but to boil and eat the hides.

Lokeris Nakwang, a resident of Atedeoi village in Lotisan sub-county, says that hunger has forced them to start boiling hides for food. She says that they have eaten all sorts of wild green vegetables and the only edible items they are left with in the house are skins and hides.

She explains that the hides are cut into pieces and soaked in water throughout the night before they are boiled early morning and are ready for consumption by midday. She revealed that some families, which cannot afford salt and other food spices, end up mixing the skin with some leafy vegetables so that it can gain some taste and make it nice for consumption.

Robert Loduk, another resident of the same village, says that they have tried cultivation but the drought has continued affecting their crops, which has demoralized them from farming. Loduk also notes that even if the government gives them food, he is not convinced it will make any difference since it will be used up in a few days.

Loduk also faults some local leaders within the region who are criticizing the Karimojong people for not doing enough to avert hunger, yet they know the challenges caused by the climate.

“Our climate is known to be harsh and it’s known but I’m surprised even our own leaders who know the weather of Karamoja are also lamenting that we are suffering because we don’t want to work, this is mockery,” he said.

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John Robert Adupa, the LC III chairperson of Lotisan sub county in Moroto district said it’s very unfortunate that the people are dying of hunger and the government is taking its time to address the crisis. Adupa said between June and July this year, his sub-county lost about 22 elderly people to starvation.

He said that the government claims to have procured food relief, but it is yet to reach the community where several elders are on the verge of dying. Adupa confirmed that the community have been struggling to feed on hides as it’s the only available source of food for them.

George William Wopuwa, the Moroto Resident District Commissioner, says that they are already aware of the communities that have been hit hardest, adding that they get the first priority when the food arrives.

The office of the prime minister flagged off relief food distribution to the Karamoja sub-region on Tuesday. The government has procured 1,590 metric tons of maize flour and 795 metric tons of beans for distribution to all the nine districts of Karamoja.