Saturday, August 29, 2009

DROUGHT HITS LYANTONDE: Prince Primary Students Affected

Lyantonde district lies in the geographical Ankole – Masaka cattle corridor; a dry zone with savanna grass lands, thorny acacia shrubs and many semi arid zones. The district is usually hit by severe dry spell between June and September. The average annual rainfall is about 750mm to 1000mm and the annual maximum temperature is about 29 degrees centigrade. There has been a drastic increase in temperature in the district leading to severe drought, which is attributed to encroachment on fragile ecosystems of wetlands, bush burning and deforestation. Drought has also led to drying up of open water sources and over 70% of boreholes.

The district has two rain seasons; the 1st runs from March to May and the 2nd from August to November. At the beginning of this years 1st planting season, local community-based organization ICOD distributed free planting seeds to vulnerable households, Prince Primary School and three farmers groups to build their capacity to produce enough food for their communities and sustain themselves. However due to severe drought, all beneficiaries lost their crops making them more vulnerable. The most affected are child headed households, orphans families and Prince Primary students, many of which come from extremely vulnerable situations. Local government records indicate that over 95% of rural farmers also lost their crops to drought.

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