· This Emergency Appeal was launched on 22 January 2016 for CHF 664,073 Swiss francs to enable the IFRC to support the Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) to respond to the food security needs of 4,500 drought affected beneficiaries for six months. The strategy entailed the immediate provision of food assistance (carried out through cash transfer programming) and strengthening community livelihoods in three districts of Mafeteng, Thaba Tseka and Qacha’s Nek to allow vulnerable households to meet their basic food needs.
Ongoing harvests improve own food access in Lesotho
In 2015/6 Lesotho has been severely affected by a El Nino-induced drought, leaving more than 60% of the rural population at risk of food insecurity. While the peak of the El Nino weather phenomenon has subsided, its significant effects on population are set to continue until at least May/June 2017. Humanitarian partners have been able to secure more than USD 40.7 million for the relief response.
In December 2015, the Government of Lesotho declared a state of emergency after the worst drought in 35 years hit the country. Following the adoption of the National Emergency Response Plan in January 2016, the government appealed to the international community for humanitarian assistance in February 2016, pledging approximately US$ 11 million of its own resources. The United Nations Country Team mobilized US$ 4,782,918 through the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) which enabled the humanitarian programmes to start interventions in March/April 2016, which terminated in October 2016.
In February and March, UNICEF supported the national measles rubella vaccination campaign and reached 17,565 children aged 0-12 months.
From January 2017 to date, UNICEF has assisted the Ministry of Health to provide therapeutic feeding to 239 children (128 boys and 111 girls) with severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
The use of food-related coping strategies falls in March
Households are engaging more frequently in at least one livelihood coping strategy
Maize meal prices continue to fall, reaching 9 percent below 2016 levels
Stock availability improves in markets
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund Representative to Lesotho Ms Nuzhat Ehsan has called upon the media in Lesotho to provide space for maternal health issues in their newspapers and programmes. She said it is through the media that policy makers would get to know about the state of maternal health and the high maternal mortality in the country.
Speaking during a press conference held at the United Nations building in Maseru on Thursday (04th May, 2017), Ms Ehsan stressed the need for reduction of maternal mortality to be in every policy makers’ agenda.
- In March, food insecurity began to improve as many households began consuming green crops during the peak of the lean season. The situation further improved in April as poor and very poor households began drying the main season harvest early this season and consuming their own production as well. In addition, humanitarian assistance is still ongoing and will likely end in May and June.
In March, WFP assisted 176,367 food-insecure people with cash and food. 53 percent of the beneficiaries were women.
WFP tracking indicates that the average maize prices decreased from M74/12.5kg in January to M72 in February. However, although lower than in 2016, the prices are 18 percent higher than the five year average.
The food security situation is gradually improving as manifested in the decline in negative coping strategies, according to WFP monitoring reports.
This preliminary final report provides an overview of progress made during the Appeal’s 10-month implementation timeframe. The final report will be published 31 May 2017 to incorporate the final financial report, which is currently being consolidated. The original EA was launched in response to the food insecurity situation in Lesotho brought on by the El-Nino induced drought.
8 percentage point reduction in households reporting poor food consumption between January and February
Negative coping strategy levels remain stable since January
Price of maize meal is 4 percent lower than the same time last year
Heavy rains hinder access to markets
In February, WFP assisted 172,443 food-insecure people with cash and food. The assistance covered people in seven districts, most affected by the drought due to the El Nino phenomenon.
Under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), WFP received 66 mt of plumpy nut to provide assistance for Nutrition activities.
This report is produced by Office of the Resident Coordinator in Lesotho in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It is issued by the Humanitarian Country Team. It covers the period from 1 October 2016 up to 17 March 2017
Food access improves as households consume green foods
Humanitarian assistance continues in Lesotho in response to acute food insecurity. For very poor and poor households receiving assistance, this is their main cash and food source. As a result, food consumption and dietary diversity have improved due to assistance. Lesotho is currently projected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2!), in the presence of assistance, from March to May. In the absence of ongoing assistance, the country would be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
• 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.
MAPUTSOE, Lesotho – ‘Mankaiseng Motau, 36, hurries as soon as she realizes the mobile clinic has been parked in its usual location near the factory at which she works. She wants to be the first to be served so that she can finish before the end of her lunch hour.
Households resorted less to negative coping strategies in January than in December
Rural households are using livelihoods coping strategies more than urban households
Purchasing power is lowest in southern districts The prices of maize meal, wheat and pulses have been stable since October
Humanitarian assistance improves acute food insecurity outcomes this peak lean season
As the lean season progresses, households face limited options for income and food sources and are relying mostly on casual labor for cash to purchase food and essential non-food items. Food prices remain above average, but have gradually declined since April 2016.
In January, WFP assisted 153,000 food insecure people through cash and food transfers.
Plans are underway to source maize meal for the school feeding programme locally; a proportion of the food is planned to be sourced from smallholder farmers.
WFP provided mobile devices to Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) to enable the Government to collect and disseminate real time weather data.
- Over half of rural households continue to use the most severe negative coping strategies
- Over two thirds of socio-economically worst-off households are buying food on credit
- A little over half the traders have stocks of basic foods
- Average maize meal prices are 7 percent higher than one year ago