Thousands of Ugandans forced to live in camps due to floods are facing starvation amid the coronavirus outbreak, local media reported.
The floods last month affected more than 100,000 people, most of them women and children.
There are at least 10,000 IDPs in the flood-hit Kasese district, and the difficulties have led to few or no measures to stem the virus’ spread.
The East African country has so far confirmed 616 virus cases but no deaths.
On a visit to one of the 27 camps, according to the Daily Monitor news website, nobody was seen wearing face masks or washing hands.
Peter Mutooro, a camp official, said they have not imposed COVID-19 restrictions “because they are facing hunger.”
“Because of COVID-19, we have started decongesting families to the nearby churches and schools to reduce our numbers,” he was quoted as saying.
Girls in the camps have also suffered sexual harassment as they have to share bathrooms with men, the report added.
“We use the same latrines and we might contract sexually transmitted diseases,” Harriet Kabugho, who chairs a committee overseeing affairs for girls within one of the camps, told the website.
A landlocked country with a population of over 39 million, Uganda produces more food than it consumes. Yet, poverty still limits people’s access to nutritious food, especially in the north and east of the country, according to the World Food Program.