Internally displaced persons have decried the poor living conditions they are subjected to in camps.
The criticisms were voiced during a two-day conference held in Kampala last week under the auspices of Global Engagement Network on Internal Displacement in Africa (GENIDA).
Ms Rehema Namale, a victim of internal displacement in Kasese District after River Nyamwamba burst its banks, told the conference that the beans they are given “are so hard that you have to cook them for two days before they can get ready for human consumption.”
She proposed that “after one and half years in a camp, one should be relocated.”
Ms Namale said besides putting up with substandard donations, conditions in the camps are so poor that many women have been driven into prostitution.
“We need better settlement because over time our children are learning the bad manners of prostitutes who are living within the camp and they might end up contracting HIV,” she said.
In Teso Sub-region, the situation is not any better.
Mr James Abwala, an internally displaced person, said: “Sometimes we are invaded and attacked by snakes in the tents especially during rainy seasons.”
He added: “Also when some of our colleagues die, they are buried in a nearby wetland but when rains come, the remains are washed away and float all over. We are living like snakes and other animals in the bush.”
None of the internally displaced persons in the sub-region were recipients of the Shs100,000 Covid-19 relief cash.
Ms Sarah Nakawunde, the former Mpigi District Woman MP, said there is a need for government to establish a disaster management commission to cater to internally displaced persons.
She added: “The law is there, but we just need it implemented.”
Mr Julius Mucugunzi, the spokesperson of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), acknowledged the predicament of internally displaced persons but was quick to add that government is not passive.
“One of the priorities field trips that the Prime Minister [Robinah Nabbanja] has been making has been to visit these places to assess the extent of the damage and cause different agencies of government to act,” he said, adding, “Some solutions like relocation and resettlement will require long-term planning and are costly, but government is committed to assisting its people.”
In late July, Ms Nabbanja rejected an assortment of relief items donated to flood victims in Kasese on account of being “substandard.”
The items included 40,000kgs of maize flour, 20,000kgs of beans, 2,000kgs of sugar, 2,000 tarpaulin, 1,350 jerry cans, 1,000 basins,100 cartons of laundry soap, 1,000 mosquito nets, 100 blankets, and 100 mats.