Lesotho: French donate emergency food aid

JOHANNESBURG, 14 January (IRIN) - Female-headed households, children and the elderly in Lesotho are set to benefit from a recent donation of food aid from the French government, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday.
The food package valued at US $160,000 was being distributed at two villages, Makeneng and Ha Ramohapi, south of the capital Maseru, and mainly consisted of legumes.

Some 445,000 people in the landlocked country are in need of assistance following two consecutive poor harvests.

"What we're finding is that there has been an increase in the number of women at the feeding distribution points. Also, because of HIV/AIDS there are many old people who are in need of assistance because many of the strong members in the family are too weak to work. It is not as if there is no food in the country, it has just become unaffordable to many poor people," WFP Lesotho told IRIN.

According to UNAIDS figures, 31 percent of Lesotho's adults are HIV-positive, which has deepened the impact of the food crisis.

WFP said the increase in food prices it had received 54 percent of the 147,000 mt of food aid needed to keep people from starving until March.

Earlier WFP told IRIN that it had surpassed its target of feeding 315,200 of the most vulnerable rural people in seven out of the country's 10 districts, reaching a total of 387,464 since the beginning of food distribution in August last year.


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