By Alfred Tumushabe & Rajab Mukombozi
Livestock in Isingiro and Kiruhura districts are dying due to starvation following prolonged drought in the area.
The two neigbouring districts have traditionally been hit by drought, but Dr Bruhan Kasozi, the Isingiro veterinary officer, on Tuesday said the scarcity of water and pasture he has witnessed was the worst in the 17 years he has worked in the area.
The area has not received any substantial rainfall since April.
Dr Kasozi said in the last two months, 4,500 head of cattle have been relocated to neighbouring Tanzania in search of pasture and water.
“I have been here for long but this is the worst drought I have seen. There are reports of people selling cows at as low as Shs20,000. There are more than 20,000 head of cattle that are emaciated and can no longer stand,” said Dr Kasozi.
Mr Eric Tindigwa, a farmer from Nsenyi in Ruborogota Sub-county, said he has so far lost five cows while some of his neighbours have lost as many as 20.
Mr Patirisi Bariyo, a farmer in Katanga, Kikooba, Endinzi Sub-county, said he has lost eight cows since August.
“When you see these indigenous (Ankole) cows dying, because most times they with stand adverse weather conditions, you have to know the situation is terrible. Even people have started dying because of starvation,” said Mr Bariyo.
“We know the government cannot help much now to stop our cows from dying but let it come to people’s rescue and give them food,” he added.
The Kiruhura LC5 chairman, Mr Sam Katugunda, said more than 5,000 cows have died since the drought began in April.
The affected areas include Sanga, Kikatsi, Nyakashashara and Kinoni sub-counties. The Isingiro LC5 chairperson, Mr Jeremiah Kamurari, said so far two people have died of starvation