WFP Lesotho Country Brief, August 2020

Situation Report
Originally published


In Numbers

1,085 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lesotho, including 31 deaths and 528 recoveries (31 August 2020)

US$ 27.6 million six-month (September 2020 - February 2021) net funding requirements, representing 82 percent of total six-month requirements

428,250 people targeted in 2020

Operational Updates

• On 24 August, Lesotho moved from Level “orange” to “purple”, signalling a further easing of restrictions. Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro announced the opening of salons, liquor stores, churches and schools among others bearing in mind World Health Organization’s COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. WFP initiated a six-month urban response, targeting the urban councils of Maseru, Mafeteng, Mohale's Hoek, Quthing and Qacha's Nek districts. The urban response is an expansion of the national Public Assistance Programme (PAP), one of Lesotho’s social protection programmes managed by the Ministry of Social Development. A total of 8,500 households representing 34,000 people will be assisted every month with cash entitlements using Vodacom’s MPESA mobile money platform. Distributions are currently ongoing in the urban councils of Mafeteng, Mohale's Hoek, Quthing and Qacha's nek, assisting a total of 3,774 households (15,096 people) to date with LSL831 (USD 50) per household.

• Preparations are underway for crisis response interventions in the rural districts of Mokhotlong and Thaba-tseka where a hybrid intervention comprised of cash and food voucher to support vulnerable households will be adopted through a network of contracted retailers. Rapid market and retailer capacity assessment was conducted in Thaba-tseka to assess how the markets were functioning in terms of food and non-food items, as well as the capacity of retailers to offer commodities in line with WFP cash-based programme. Protection and security issues were assessed in view of promoting meaningful access, safety and dignified support. In addition, the availability of mobile agents and their capacity to issue cash was also assessed. This was done in a view to recommend the most feasible transfer modality of assistance in different councils.

• Public works activities ended in August in the three southern districts (Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing) and three northern districts (Berea, Maseru and Botha-Bothe).

• Schools remain closed. In place of onsite feeding, WFP has distributed food commodities as takehome rations to primary school children from vulnerable households.