Vendors seeking government support after Elegu market fire outbreak

AMURU – Victims of last month’s fire outbreak at Elegu Border Market that saw items worth more than Shs3 billion destroyed have appealed for government support to help their businesses recover from their tragic loss.

The vendors have petitioned government authorities through their district leadership to support them logistically and financially since they are already struggling to cope with the impact of the disaster.

A total of 3000 vendors and traders out of the 17,000 who operate at the Elegu Border Market lost their items in the 21st February fire outbreak.

Margaret Auma, the Chairperson of the Elegu Women Cross-Border Vendors Association says, a number of vendors are struggling to feed themselves and even provide temporary shelter with others forced to share accommodation with friends.

Auma says, they want the government to provide them with relief support including food and shelter, and some financial support for their business to recover from the loss.

“We have businesses like lodges, groceries, agricultural produce, fresh and dried among others that have all been destroyed. Traders and vendors want to get back to business and some don’t even have where to sleep or what to eat. Our appeal to the government is to come to our aid since it’s not our desire that our items were destroyed by fire,” Auma said.

Salim Sadat, a vendor who lost his merchandise shop to the fire outbreak says, he lost items worth Shs 5.7 million and he only saved Shs1 million which he is now using to support his family during this hard time.

Michael Lakony, the LCV Chairperson Amuru district says, they have already contacted the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and Minister for East African Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga on the request and need for support for the Elegu fire victims.

Lakony says, the district is currently collecting the data of the affected people before submitting it to Kampala for government intervention.

“We are currently collecting the data of the vendors affected by the fire outbreak, after which we will send the list to Kampala. We are already in contact with Minister Rebecca Kadaga and the Office of the Prime Minister so that the victims of the fire outbreak are supported,” Lakony says.

“The problem we are already foreseeing especially with the Office of the Prime Minister is lack of funds which they have already expressed,” Lakony adds.

Police have attributed the fire outbreak to negligence of vendors saying, the cause of fire was due to a fire that was left by a vendor who had cooked at the market and did not put it out.

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