As in so many countries around the world, the Ugandan government has closed all schools, banned all mass gatherings, public transport (including bicycle boda-bodas) and non-essential travel and there is a strict curfew in place. These restrictions have just been extended to 5th May. As a result, all UWCM community activities have been suspended and staff are working from home where possible.
We are keeping in close email contact with the staff at UWCM and last week they reported that the government have begun distributing food and essential items eg maize flour, beans, sugar, soap, cooking oil etc to people living in Kampala and the surrounding suburbs who are on low incomes or with no salaries, and that it will eventually spread to the whole country. However, UWCM anticipate that this will take a long time and that not all vulnerable people outside of these areas will have access to this package – particularly those in the communities in and around Mbale where they work. UWCM are trusting that local groups eg churches, NGOs and volunteers will also play their part in helping support those in greatest need and staff will resume their work in the communities as soon as the restrictions are lifted.
We are continuing to support UWCM staff with their salaries and are in regular email contact and will respond to any emergency requests as appropriate. Thankfully, so far at the time of writing, there are very few confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the country and no deaths.