Unites Nations officials in Uganda said on Monday (11 August) they hoped U.N. aid to the drought-stricken Karamoja region could soon be resumed.
GV Save The Children Fund truck reversing into warehouse in Kampala, Uganda (2 shots)
GV INTERIOR Goods loaded onto lorry (3 shots)
SV Field Director for Save The Children Fund, Mr. Guy Blest, interviewed in English by reporter, June Decter
DECTER: "Why did you decide to keep your operation going, while other UN operations have stopped, although you're not part of the UN?"
BLEST: "Well, it's not only us, it's all the voluntary agencies. As far as the Save The Children Fund is concerned, our programme is of course aimed specifically at children, and it is the children who are suffering the most, the children who are entirely innocent of any of these problems, and we don't think it is right that they should be allowed to suffer unnecessarily. There's also the security problem, of which we are greatly aware, but I don't think one could say that the security situation has suddenly worsened. It's true that a food convoy was shot up, but this has always been a possibility and I think that the need is such that one's got to take these risks, while taking all the precautions one can to try and minimise the risks."
DECTER: "What precautions are you now taking for your convoys going up into the Karamoja region?"
BLEST: "Well, generally we send up our convoys accompanied by an expatriate because, sad to say, expatriates are probably safer than Ugandans. They have instructions what to do if they do meet raiders, which is mainly to pull back and wait until the raiders have passed. If it means they have to wait for 24 hours, they have to wait for 24 hours. But the instructions are on no account to try to go through the middle of them."
REPORTER: JUNE DECTER
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Background: Unites Nations officials in Uganda said on Monday (11 August) they hoped U.N. aid to the drought-stricken Karamoja region could soon be resumed. Operations were suspended two weeks earlier when armed raiders attacked a convoy delivering food, medical and agricultural supplies. But a number of private aid organisations have continued their work, including the London-based Save the Children Fund.
SYNOPSIS: According to the United Nations there are enough emergency food supplies in Uganda to feed the famine victims, but distribution has become almost impossible because of intimidation. More than two hundred people are dying every day in the Karamoja. Guy Blest, Field Director for the Save The Children Rund, spoke to Visnews reporter June Decter about his organisation's work.