The United Nations-backed distribution of food supplies to the famine stricken region of Karamoja in north eastern Uganda has been suspended.
GV U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees truck parked in the Verona Fathers' warehouse in Kampala, Uganda. (2 SHOTS)
CU Bullet hole above door-handle on back door of truck. truck.
SV Broken window behind driver's seat on another truck and bullet hole though windscreen. (3 SHOTS)
GV Trucks parked at warehouse.
AERIAL VIEW Crop fields in southern Karamoja.
SV Maize field in southern Karamoja.
SV Youth eating maize at U.N. food distribution centre.
SV Boys unloading bags of maize from trailer.
GV & SV People waiting to be fed at Namalu Mission in southern Karamoja. (3 SHOTS)
SV Milk poured into bowls for distribution.
SV Biscuit tin and other food ready for distribution. (2 SHOTS)
SV Refugees drinking milk. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: The United Nations-backed distribution of food supplies to the famine stricken region of Karamoja in north eastern Uganda has been suspended. U.N. officials say they have taken the action because of the danger from armed groups to their delivery convoys.
SYNOPSIS: This is the Verona Fathers' food warehouse in Kampala. The lorries parked here were used to transport food to refugee camps in southern Karamoja. The bullet holes and broken windows are evidence of recent armed attacks on the conveys.
Heavily armed gangs used to concentrate on cattle-raiding. Now they also attack refugee aid centres and trucks that bring food.
The suspension of food deliveries will bring more hardship to an area severely affected by famine. Although precious rain fell on the crops of Karamoja recently, the situation is still serious.
Food that is available in small amounts now, is expected to run out soon. Many of the cattle which normally roam these fields, have been stolen by the raiders.
The Namalu food centre in southern Karamoja was run by four French doctors with United Nations aid. But the doctors have left the area under the growing threat of attack. Ugandans are now responsible for passing out aid to the starving refugees who arrive for their daily subsistence ration.
Food and drink, including vital supplies of milk, must now be provided locally. No longer can emergency aid be trucked in from Kampala. When the local farmers' harvest is used, the main source of food will run out.
Some imported supplies remain at the food centre but they are quickly being consumed. It concludes out-of-date Belgian army rations.
The situation would be relieved if the food hijackers were brought under control, allowing the United Nations to resume convoys from Kampala. In the meantime, Swiss aid teams are looking at the feasibility of flying in food and medicine supplies by helicopter.