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Karimojong, Turkana herders demand joint meteorology equipment amid drought, weather prediction challenges

The Turkana girls in Kenya presenting a peace song during the cross border meeting between the Karamojong of Uganda and them (PHOTO/OPOLOT)

MOROTO – The two pastoral communities; the Karimojong of Uganda and Turkana of Kenya have on Wednesday, September 4, appealed to both governments to construct joint meteorology equipment at the border between Turkana and Karamoja.

The two ethnic communities have mutually agreed that this will help the pastoralists get weather information on time which will enable them to make swift preparations in a bid to manage and protect their livestock.

The neighbouring tribal factions collectively raised their appeal on Saturday, August 31, during the cross-border pastoralists’ meeting that was held at Lokiriama along the Uganda-Kenya border.

Mr. Timothy Lokuruka, the Chairman of Turkana pastoralists who frequently graze their cattle in Moroto district said that late dissemination of weather focus information was making many pastoralists lose their livestock to drought due to poor planning.

“How we wish the two governments could only introduce an efficient system along the border and employ people to help us to access detailed weather reports as pastoralists, so that we can plan properly on our grazing areas,” he suggested.

Mr. Lokuruka blamed the migrations of pastoralists to various places in search of water and pasture to lack of a joint meteorology department to provide timely information about weather changes to the nomadic pastoralists.

Samuel Lokong another pastoralist from Moroto noted that pastoralists have radios that they listen to while grazing their livestock but they don’t listen to programs focusing on weather because the two governments have failed to give detailed weather forecasts.

“We don’t know whether it’s a deliberate move by the two governments to deny us weather information so that we continue suffering with our animals,” said Mr Lokong.

Mark Lokoel another Turkana pastoralist noted that since the beginning of 2019 they have not received any information about the weather from either country.

Uganda is currently hosting about 70,000 Turkana pastoralists who fled their region with about 200,000 herds of cattle, donkeys, camels, and goats after drought hit their region subsequently drying up grass and much-needed water supply in their region.

The pastoralists are grazing together with the Karimojong in the areas of Moroto, Kotido and Kaabong districts.

John Emuria and elder from Loyoro Sub County in Kaabong district told PML Daily that this is not the first time that Karamoja region has had to endure drought.

“Karamoja has never escaped drought, every year the region is dry with people starving,” he noted.

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