Uganda

Drought Bulletin Abim - March 2011

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Situation Report
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Drought Bulletin summary for the Month of March 2011

This Drought Bulletin is a representation of 9 parishes in Abim District, namely: Achangali, Awach, and Orwamuge in Lotuke Sub County, Atunga and Kiru in Abim Sub County, Loyoroit and Otumpili in Alerek Sub County, Oreta in Nyakwae Sub County and Katabok East in Morulem Sub County.

March was moderately humid and less windy with higher rainfall compared to February. Due to the recent rains: grasses have sprouted and are green, most of the Desert Dates and Acacia trees are green with minimal shedding of leaves as a result of the windy condition, and mushrooms and mosses have also started to appear. The seasonal forecast from Meteorological Department is that the rain is expected to be normal and below normal

Because of the availability of pasture and water for livestock as a result of the first March rains, the animals’ body condition slightly improved and the calves’ mortality rate also reduced from 41.3% to 23.9%. Time spent to access grazing land remained the same at 5.4 hours because animals did not move from their previous grazing areas of Alerek and Nyakwae back home where pasture and water is at nearer distances. No cases of livestock migration and disease incidences were recorded during the month. Types of animals available in the market reduced because the Jie cows have started to move back to Kotido.

In March, borehole usage as the main water source reduced from 90% in February to 59%, while springs usage reduced from 10% to 7% because alternative sources like Rock catchments (13%), Traditional River wells (20%) were available as a result of the rains. This in turn led to reduction in time spent to fetch water especially for boreholes from 1.7 hours in February to 1.1 hours in March. Though the average quantity of water fetched at household daily has decreased from 188.57L to 131.8L in March, each household member still had 18.8L per day, which is above the minimum requirement of 15L/person/day. The current is considered normal. Borehole usage might increase in a few months because the District has already drilled 11 boreholes since January which are now awaiting installation.

The security situation was fair in March because a greater percentage of households can move freely during night time as a result of reduced insecurity incidences such as road ambushes and killings which scaled down with the help of Paramilitary and UPDF road patrols.

In preparation for the cultivation period, the Office of the Prime Minister provided 4 Tractors to cultivate and harrow 223 acres of land for each Sub County (a total of 1,112 acres) in the District. So far, 240 acres have been completed in Abim Sub County and Abim Town Council. Short term crop seeds like Beans K132, Sekedo sorghum, Secow cowpeas, and Maize-Longe 5 have been received by all Sub Counties.

The price of wood and charcoal has increased due high food prices and the difficulty in accessing the items during rainy times. This has also reduced the supply compared to demand thus hiking prices.

The prices of labor has also increased as a result of increase in food prices and most laborers engaging in opening land for agriculture and leaving few households providing labor force yet the demand during this planting time is high. These trends are considered as normal for the current season.

The high food prices therefore forced households to adopt various coping mechanisms and the main ones were; reducing portion size at meal times (70%), reducing the number of meals per day (68.9), and relying on hunting for food (53%).