Uganda

Seven die of hunger-related disease in northeastern Uganda

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KAMPALA, Jun 21, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Seven people have so far died of hunger-related diseases in Nakapiripirit district, northeastern Uganda following a poor harvest season and the suspension of distribution of food relief in the district.

The Minister of Karamoja Affairs, Peter Lokeris told Xinhua by telephone on Tuesday that persistent theft of food from World Food Program (WFP) stores at Nabilatuk forced the UN body to suspend distribution.

"People are dying because they stole food from WFP stores which forced the food agency to suspend distribution of food in the district," said Lokeris, adding that the drought has worsened the situation.

He noted that the area members of parliament are to meet WFP officials to appeal to them to resume supplying food to the area.

"The legislators are to meet the WFP authorities in Uganda on Tuesday to appeal to them to help the people who have been greatly hit by hunger," said Lokeris.

Meanwhile, there are reports that six schools in the district have closed because of hunger.

A member of parliament from the district, Micah Lolem was quoted by local media on Tuesday as saying that some of the church- founded primary schools only retained candidate classes while the government-aided schools closed completely.

He said that schools that heavily relied on relief food, closed at the beginning of the second term of May.

Minister Lokeris said that the government has tried to send food to the district and also gives some contribution to WFP to supply food to the region.