A starving boy and a missionary in Uganda, 1980

The hungry boy in Uganda, 1980.

In 1980 Mike Wells drew a powerful picture of a Catholic missionary with a hungry Ugandan boy. In so many ways it almost seems like the hand is not human. It is almost the hand of a space alien, a different species, or anything but the hand of a human being. Unfortunately it is not a will to be something else, it is a human hand. A hungry person.

In an interview after winning the World Press Photo of the Year Award, freelance photo journalist Mike Wells told Holland Herald magazine that in 1980 he was working in Africa for the United Kingdom's Save the Children Fund, in which he launched an anti-polio campaign Was covered. Swaziland and Malawi. Wells created this image during a trip to Uganda, in a madrasa where Verona's father was distributing food during the early days of the famine. One of the monks described the situation to Wells and told him that the Karaongs boy was about four years old.

Shortage of food started in Karamoja in July 1978 after drought, crop failure and plant disease. Not being an area of ​​great economic or political importance for the Ugandan government, the administration of President Edi Amin took no action after being wary of the situation that year. After the flight of Amin and his troops in 1979, the Karamojong warriors acquired a large amount of guns and ammunition. The influx of firearms shifted the balance of regional power and cultural traditions around the raid. It became dangerous to move in and out of Karamoja with cattle or grain.

In addition, national insecurity caused complete dissolution of trade. Families started running out of food in the early 1980s. The situation became critical in May and famine reached its peak in July and August of the same year. In July, Verona fathers in Karamoja appealed to the World Food Program in Rome for immediate assistance. The Catholic Church began Catholic missionary activities in the region in 1933, providing relief assistance during the famine from the 1960s.

Photographer Mike Wells, who would later win the World Press Photo Award for this photo, admitted that he was ashamed to take the photo. The same publication which sat on his picture for five months entered a competition without publishing it. He was embarrassed to win because he never entered the competition himself, and was against winning prizes with pictures of people starving.

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