The Government Has to Put More People on the Streets to Help People Stay Alive

This East African nation is known for stability. But drought and rising prices are fueling insecurity in parts of its coastal regions, where residents fear they will soon have no work because of increasing…

The Government Has to Put More People on the Streets to Help People Stay Alive

This East African nation is known for stability. But drought and rising prices are fueling insecurity in parts of its coastal regions, where residents fear they will soon have no work because of increasing international competition and low wages for their work as teachers.

In May, the government declared a drought emergency and launched a mass evacuation of more than 4,000 people from coastal towns to the interior. “We are all afraid for our life,” said one resident, who requested anonymity. A third person in the group told Equal Times that locals have often been forced to flee their homes.

In an effort to contain the price hikes, the government is considering raising the cost for its subsidized water supply, which now costs 2 million Ugandan shillings (about $30) per month. The government has offered to pay for it in part by increasing the price of bread, which currently costs just 6500 Ugandan shillings per kilogram. This translates to one Ugandan shilling roughly equivalent to $0.25; the price of food has since risen to $1.30.

Drought in the Horn of Africa is a threat to food security and local livelihoods that requires urgent responses, argues Sambo Mwesigwa, the co-founder of The Center for Investigative Journalism.

“People are now having to leave their jobs, and it’s not clear what they are going to do,” he said. “A lot of people are scared to leave their communities. The government has got to put in place a policy to keep people in their communities. The government has to put more people on the streets to help them and their communities stay alive.”

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