Uganda: Prayers of thanksgiving as rains come

People cross river swollen by recent rain

People cross river swollen by recent rain

Prayers of thanksgiving have been offered in churches throughout northern Uganda as people celebrate the end of one of the most serious droughts for years.

"God is with his people all the time," said Fr Andrew Mitema of Loyoro parish, Kotido, in the Karamoja region.

"Karamoja has really changed. We received some constant rains and some foodstuffs are ready as farmers have started harvesting them. Life is coming back to society."

But the effects of the drought linger, he said in a report to the charity SPICMA (Special Projects in Christian Missionary Areas). Elephants, driven to approach villages by hunger, have caused loss of food stocks. The animals were "unstoppable," said Fr Mitema.

There have also been cross-border attacks by Kenyan cattle rustlers who have stolen stock from local farmers.

But despite the severity of the drought, he said, "we didn't encounter a lot of deaths." For this he thanks SPICMA. "You have truly been a blessing," he said.

SPICMA is continuing its support for the region, with a new donation of £20,000 to support those who could not plant new crops or have lost their harvests and to provide medicine for the most vulnerable.

The charity, a wholly voluntary body with no paid staff, thanked donors who have supported its efforts in Karamoja and said it hoped the coming months would see a steady improvement in the availability of food and a decline in prices.

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