Government through the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness has donated two cups of beans and four cups of posho each to over 300 victims of marauding elephants in Oyam district.
The relief was dispatched to the victims following a petition by Oyam district authorities led by Gillian Akullu, the area RDC to the ministry to help the victims three weeks ago.
The stray elephants invaded the village on 29th September 2014, affecting close to 4,000 people from Myene and Kamdini Sub counties. Patrick Ogwal Ojok, the Kamdini sub county LC V councilor says despite the fact that, the relief is meager it is the start of government support to the thousands of the victims.
He asks government to consider coming up with a long term intervention, which will prevent game animals from Murchison fall Game Park from causing further destruction in the areas bordering the park. Myene, Minakulu, Kamdini, Loro and Aber Sub Counties are part of the areas that are repeatedly affected by stray elephants.
Despite receiving the package, the victims are dissatisfied with the manner in which government has responded to their plea. Josephine Adong, a mother of four describes the government intervention as an insult to the victims. She says what they have received is too little to cater for their meals for even two days.
Colonel Charles Okello Engola, the Oyam LCV chairperson says the repeated elephant invasion in the area is a huge lose to the residents. He asks government to consider planting trees around the park and support residents to come up with income generating activities on top of providing them with seeds.
Musa Ecweru the minister of state for Disaster Preparedness told said that government is already strategizing to send fast yielding seeds to the victims.
Shortly after the recent invasion by the stray elephants, resident petitioned in high court through their lawyer Mike Abwang Otim of Abwang Otim Company Advocates seeking for compensation and damages to the tune of UGX 1 billion.
Information obtained by our reporter shows that, 27 people from the affected sub counties have lost lives as a result of the wildlife invasion over the last five years.
Three of these died in an attack early this year at Atura village, Loro sub county about five kilometers from the park. Although there is no specific law that caters for victims’ compensation, under such circumstances, the residents say they are determined to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion.
Some are suggesting that government supports them with income generating activities that will bridge the economic gap. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has in the past partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) in the implementation of Tourism for Biodiversity (T4B), a special programme designed to equip community wildlife scouts in areas around Murchison falls conservation area with skills and equipment used in animal management.