In December 2016, in response to a request from the Government to increase WFP’s assistance with an additional 100,000 people during the lean season, WFP started expanding its in-kind food assistance to an additional 22,000 people in two new constituencies.
In December, WFP assisted 152,000 people with emergency food assistance, of which 30,000 received cash based transfers under the emergency response.
Substantial gaps in the funding situation remain and WFP urgently requires USD 5.5 million in order to ensure sufficient scale up and assistance to 250,000 food insecure people throughout the lean season, which lasts until March 2017.
Drought and Food Security: Two years of consecutive droughts have led to failed harvests, high food prices, agricultural livelihood degradation, livestock losses, reduced water availability, and an overall increase in food insecurity. Water sources declined by 50 percent during 2016 causing widespread crop failure. This has contributed to an increasingly vulnerable situation and the 2016/2017 agricultural season will need close monitoring.
Weather conditions continue to have varied impact on the current agricultural season throughout the country. Signs of crop moisture stress were observed in the Lubombo region due to soaring temperatures and limited rains. Meanwhile, in the Highveld region, maize crops are in good condition due to to heavy rains in the past month. Overall, the majority of subsistence farmers are behind this season due to delayed rains in October 2016 and a lack of farming inputs including limited commercial maize seed availability.
In December, under the Emergency Operation, WFP assisted 152,000 drought affected people through emergency food distributions, of which 122,000 people received food distributions and 30,000 people received cash-based transfers. Also, some 4,500 people received food assistance under the Food by prescription project.
HIV and Nutrition: WFP is in discussions with the Ministry of Health to advocate for government and donor contributions to support WFP’s Food by Prescription programme. A comprehensive health and nutrition assessment reveals an increase in patients defaulting from antiretroviral therapy (12 percent) and treatment for TB from 2014 to 2015, and less adherence to HIV and TB treatment.
Social protection for Orphans and Vulnerable Children: In light of the continued needs related to drought conditions, WFP is looking for funding to continue assistance. Moving forward, WFP will shift its engagement from providing food assistance through NCPs to support the Government to strengthen social protection systems.