UNICEF Lesotho Year-end Humanitarian Situation Report, January - December 2017

Situation Report
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  • With support from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), UNICEF provided safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene messages to 23,563 drought-affected people in five districts. Since the start of the DFID-funded programme in July 2016 and up to December 2017, a total of 131,267 people (51 per cent female) gained access to WASH services in 45 communities, 34 primary schools and 4 health centres in 5 districts (Berea, Mafeteng,
    Thaba Tseka, Quthing and Botha Bothe).

  • Since January 2017, 1,750 children (911 boys and 839 girls) of an estimated SAM load of 2,500 (70 per cent) have been admitted and treated for severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

  • A total of 540,017 children were vaccinated with the measles-rubella vaccine in a nationwide campaign conducted from February to April 2017. Furthermore, 165,747 children between the ages of 6-59 months received vitamin A supplementation.

  • A total of 4,325 families, including 12,975 children (6,617 girls) in three community councils (Seate, Tenesolo, and Tosing) were provided with emergency cash top-ups through the Child Grant Programme.

  • A multi-sectoral team of 55 participants—comprised of social workers, programme officers, police officers, NGO community officers, commodities officers, humanitarian accountability officers and the media were trained by an accredited Global Protection Cluster Facilitator on child protection in emergencies, including in psychosocial support (PSS).

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

The 2017 integrated urban and rural vulnerability assessment results, released in June 2017, estimated that a total of 306,942 people would face food insecurity from September 2017 to March 2018 (224,664 rural and 82,278 urban). The report also indicated that, while acute food security needs are reducing due to improved harvest from 24,727 to 238,361 metric tons of cereal production, there has been an increase in chronic malnutrition (36 per cent). The findings further indicated that 68.1 per cent of households have an adequate water supply through communal taps, piped water, protected and unprotected springs, and other sources. However, 6 of the 10 districts reported a high percentage of households using unprotected water sources (10 – 17 per cent). About 80 per cent of households are using improved sanitation facilities, showing a 10 per cent increase from last year. Although, the 2017 Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC) report shows a marked decrease in the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance, there is still a need to support over 300,000 people with food assistance until March 2018. The decrease is likely linked to the El Niño humanitarian response as well as improved rains which positively impacted on the harvest and food availability in 2017.