Lesotho: Food Insecurity - Emergency appeal n° MDRLS003 Operation Update No. 2

Period covered by this Ops Update: 15 October 2012 – 20 November 2012

Appeal target (current): This emergency Appeal seeks CHF 1,119,000 in cash, kind, or services to support the Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) to assist 8,000 beneficiaries (1,600 households) for 9 months, and will be completed by July 2013.

Appeal coverage: 0%

Appeal history:

  • An Emergency Appeal was launched on 15 October, 2012.

  • CHF 100,000 was allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the National Society to start up activities and be able to provide immediate assistance. Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

  • A detailed household needs assessment was undertaken between 16 – 20 October 2012 with the support of the British Red Cross Household Economic Security (HES) Analyst to consolidate and deepen the understanding of the existing food security and livelihoods to feed into planning and implementation of the 9 month emergency appeal.

  • An Operation update was issued on 31 October 2012, to provide further information on the situation and the needs that were given in the Emergency Appeal document as a result of the Household Economic Survey (HES) workshop.

Summary: While food prices, especially maize meal, continue to soar, the official number of people currently in need of food is 725,515. Most of the affected people are struggling to plant their fields due to scarcity of agricultural inputs despite government initiative to subsidize such inputs. Most of the inputs come from South Africa in quantities that are not enough to cover the whole population.
During the reporting period, an in-depth needs assessment was undertaken with the support of the British Red Cross Household Economic expert. In preparation for the assessment, a training workshop was conducted on Household Economic Security assessment to strengthen the capacity of the National Society in this area.

As a result of the support from the British Red Cross funded HES expert, the needs have been further analysed.

Food sources, income sources and expenditure of each wealth group (very poor, poor, middle and better off) in each livelihood zone (e.g. highlands, lowlands etc.) were explored and the impacts of each hazard on the food and income sources across the wealth groups and livelihood zones.

Disbursement of the DREF allocation has now taken place and implementation of activities can begin.
LRCS is aiming to distribute food aid to a total of 1,600 families (8,000 beneficiaries) in a period of six months, and further strengthen household livelihood recovery through provision of agricultural starter packs for both field and garden crops. To build the community resilience, the appeal operation will also cover disaster risk reduction activities which include climate change adaptation techniques.

To date, no funds have yet been received for this appeal. Donors are strongly urged to provide the necessary support, as needs are critical and on-going. In particular, the window for preparing fields and planting new crops is short and needs to be capitalised on immediately in order to ensure that families have new crops and therefore on-going food supplies.