World, Africa

Uganda: 2 die, 160 fall sick after consuming cereal

Samples of cereal, distributed by WFP, have been sent to laboratories for examination, UN agency says

Godfrey Olukya   | 18.03.2019
Uganda: 2 die, 160 fall sick after consuming cereal

KAMPALA, Uganda

At least 2 people were killed and 160 others admitted to hospitals in Uganda’ northern Karamoja region after consuming contaminated cereal distributed by World Food Program (WFP) -- a UN agency -- officials said on Monday.

“2 people have died so far and 160 others admitted to various hospitals after eating food distributed by WFP,” John Laloki, acting police spokesman in the region, told Anadolu Agency.

Uganda Red Cross also confirmed the deaths and advised the mothers who consumed that food to immediately stop breastfeeding their children.

Michaeal Ongica, a police commander in the region, said: “It is unfortunate that people fell sick after eating the food. It is likely that the food may have been contaminated. We are carrying out investigations to ascertain the cause.”

He said their investigations will focus on four areas -- storage, transportation, distribution and homes where the food was eaten.

Dr. James Lemukol, the district health officer, told Anadolu Agency that those who got sick after eating the food were vomiting severely and also exhibited body weakness.

He noted that children are worst hit by the suspected contaminated food.

Samples of the cereal have been sent to government laboratories for examination.

WFP has also issued a statement and regretted the incidents.

“The World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended distributing Super Cereal – a fortified blended food – in Uganda after scores of people were taken sick and were admitted to health centers following local food distributions in the Karamoja region,” the statement said.

The government and WFP are investigating and have submitted samples of Super Cereal for laboratory tests to determine whether there is a link between eating blended food and people falling sick after distributions. From the outset, it added.

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