NAIROBI, 29 January (IRIN) - The
Ugandan authorities have discounted local media reports of 79 deaths from
severe famine in the semi-arid northeastern part of the country.
According to Martin Owuor, assistant commissioner for emergency management and preparedness in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), there have been no recorded famine-related deaths throughout the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda since July, as reported by the 'New Vision' daily.
"What I know is that no-one has died of famine," he told IRIN on Wednesday. "These are political reports. People have died of sicknesses. No-one has proved to us that the deaths have been caused by famine."
He however confirmed a severe food shortage in the region and said his office had dispatched a team of experts on the ground to monitor the situation.
Owuor said a lot of harvested food had arrived in the district's stores by September. "It cannot be true that people have died in the months when there was food rotting in our stores there," he pointed out.
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