UNICEF Lesotho Humanitarian Situation Report, February 2017

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 28 Feb 2017

Highlights

• UNICEF, with support from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), continues to provide safe drinking water to drought-affected populations. Preparatory activities such as technical assessment of water sources which require rehabilitation, and communities that need new water sources are underway to provide safe water to 17,000 people.

• Since January 2017, 33 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have received treatment with therapeutic feeding. The low number of SAM cases treated is due to incomplete reporting as only 15 out of 175 facilities that are providing therapeutic feeding have reported.

• Beginning in March 2017, UNICEF began distributing multimedia information, education and communication materials, along with community-level sensitisation on child protection in emergencies.
Messages are being distributed by radio, TV and at community-level following a pre-test and a subsequent multi-stakeholder messaging validation workshop which was held on 23 January 2017.

• UNICEF Lesotho has received no funding against its Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal in 2017. Unmet funding requirements continue to pose a risk to vulnerable children and women in relation to the ongoing effects of El Nino.

Situation in Numbers

310,015
Children affected by drought

64,141
Children under 5 affected by drought

69,000
Vulnerable children in need of social safety nets

679,437
People in need of humanitarian assistance (LVAC)

All numbers above are from the Rapid Drought Impact Assessment, the LVAC June 2016.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

The Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC) results in June 2016 showed that 679,437 people in the rural areas of Lesotho are in need of humanitarian assistance between June 2016 and May 2017. The most immediate identified humanitarian needs caused by the El Nino-induced drought are food and water. The LVAC found that about 17 per cent of households were using water from unprotected sources. In Maseru, Mokhotlong and Thaba-Tseka districts, 22-32 per cent of people were reported to be using water from unprotected sources. The vulnerability caused by El Nino compounded existing high rates of poverty, and HIV infection rates which are among the highest in the world.

According to the Lesotho Meteorological Services the El Nino phenomenon officially ended in July 2016 and that currently Lesotho is in the La Nina phase. The onset of rains for agricultural purposes started in November, increasing the likelihood of good harvests. The rainfall outlook is normal for the upcoming three months, allowing for a normal agricultural cycle. The regional outlook for March-May foresees normal to above normal temperatures that will likely prevent early frost.

With the completion of the June 2016 LVAC study, an urban vulnerability assessment was commissioned by the Government and development partners. This assessment included collecting data to assess vulnerability by gender and HIV and AIDS status. Data collection has been completed and analysis is underway with preliminary results expected to be shared in a draft report in March 2017.