Lesotho

World Vision pushes ahead with food distributions to beat bureaucratic delays

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James Addis, World Vision Communications
Desperate Lesotho grandmother Noeight Tyhali broke down in tears last week when World Vision dropped off a month's supply of maize, beans and cooking oil at her home.

Previously Mrs Tyhali said she had given up hope of receiving anything.

The distribution comes in advance of a three-month food assistance programme for Lesotho, planned by the World Food Programme and aid agencies. The programme has suffered delays while the organisations involved thrash out technical and administrative difficulties.

But World Vision Mokanametsong Area Development Programme manager Thato Mxakaze said World Vision felt compelled to make a number of immediate food distributions after surveys showed some families could not wait.

"Some people don't have anything to eat at all," Mr Mxakaze said.

Mr Mxakaze said the results of food surveys conducted last month, near the town of Quthing in southern Lesotho, were still being collated but his preliminary impression was that food resources in the community were rapidly dwindling.

"By December just about everybody will be out of food. Only families who have a member working elsewhere will have something," he said.

Mrs Tyhali, who is in her seventies, was found to be in an especially vulnerable situation because she is the sole provider for three of her grandchildren, following the deaths of her daughters.

Her plight is common in Lesotho where many of the sexually active population die prematurely because of Aids.

Mrs Tyhali says she did not have the strength to weed her maize crop this year and consequently had no harvest.

Lesotho has suffered two years in a row of poor harvests due to flooding and frosts. Problems are compounded by poor soils and lack of agricultural land.

Mokanametsong Area Development Programme is funded by World Vision child sponsors in Taiwan.