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Yumbe farmers decry losing properties due to hailstorm

By Jurugo Emmanuel Ogasto

Yumbe farmers decried over losing properties due to hailstorms in Kuru, Apo, Lodonga, Drajini and Lorirefugees’ camps.

Yesterday, farmers conducted an assessment together with district disaster management committee on the recent hailstorm and rain waters that ravaged Yumbe district a week ago. The report had indicated an estimated economic loss of Shs 55.7 billion for the damages caused.

According to the report, out of the 70 sampled villages where the assessment was carried in the 6 lower local governments of Kuru, Apo, Lodonga, Drajini and Lori sub counties and Lodonga town council, a total of 32,160 people from 5,360 households had been affected.

The report further showed that the hailstorm destroyed a sampled 6,881 acres of various crops, caused death to over 410 livestock and an unspecified number of buildings were also destroyed.

While disseminating the report in a disaster committee meeting at the weekend, Mr Stephen Bakole, the district Agricultural officer said it had been a rapid assessment and that they were unable to reach all the affected households.

He said some of the affected households might had been eliminated in the rapid assessment process, but they had been given go ahead to the LCs to continue recording the affected households that were left out during the rapid assessment period, and it was anticipated that the number may increase.

“From our findings, all the crops were affected, but according to the tool we deployed, we didn’t want to capture every crop of a farmer.It was hard because our farmers at times grow more than 20 different crops. We zeroed on the key crops like green, vegetables, maize, cassava, rice, sorghum, beans, sweet potatoes, soya beans and groundnuts”, he said.

“We can go ahead to make recommendations, but even if there is any help given, there will still be a lot of loss in terms of revenue and livelihood. Whatever we do, it will take the farmers three years to recover from this situation and in this period of time, there is a need for the farmers to work harder to improve their livelihood”, Bakole added.

He said that disaster was likely to impact on the livelihoods of the communities and gender based violence may likely to increase as some men were requesting their wives to temporarily go back to their parents homes with the children.

Mr Rasul Drajiga, the district disaster management committee chairperson said, following the destruction by the hailstorm, they as disaster management committee demanded for immediate rapid assessment to be carried out to ascertain the damages caused so that it could inform them of appropriate action.

He said that the technical team had given them the report and immediately it was disseminated so that based on the report, various stakeholders could get back to the drawing board and see what else could be done within the remaining time because this was the last quarter of the second season to grow crops.

“We have disseminated the report with the intention of seeking for support from the various stakeholders that we think can be able to redeem the situation slightly. Our disaster budget is a sector specific, and it’s called a contiguous plan. But the scope of the damage is too big to be handled with the sector budgets that’s why we are pushing it to the well-wishers, partners and government agencies”, he said.

He said the district disaster sector budget can’t reach Shs 50 million which can’t help to address the matter.

However, Drajiga told the farmers to learn a lesson from that disaster that they shouldn’t produce food to be eaten at a certain particular period of time.But what they should produce every other time, they should process it and preserve them so that it could take them for another period.

Mr. Brahan E’doni, the project manager at DanChurchAid (DCA) concurred with the recommendations of the disaster management committee. But expressed fear on the call to support the affected farmers with planting materials.

“The disaster committee recommended that the partners should support the farmers with planting materials, but my fear is some of the enterprises may be cut off now because it’s approaching the dry season. The partners support may perhaps focus more on vegetables, because looking at cassava and other enterprises taking into account our Agricultural practices here.Bringing such planting materials may be a huge challenge because the weather may not support it”, he said.

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