In January 2017, WFP provided emergency food assistance to some 154,000 drought affected people, of which an estimated 30,000 received cash based transfers (CBT). WFP plans to reach 250,000 food insecure people during the lean season.
Funding gaps for the EMOP remain and from now until April 2017 WFP requires an additional USD 5.4 million to ensure monthly assistance to the 250,000 people.
The agricultural season remains uncertain with uneven weather conditions across the country. To assess the broader impact of the drought, the Government is coordinating a multi-cluster assessment, planned to be conducted in early 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.
To date, the agricultural season remains uncertain with uneven weather conditions across the country.
According to WFP monitoring teams, worsening crop conditions due to extremely high temperatures and shortage of rainfall were observed in the Lubombo region. Farmers are concerned that the heatwave might reduce the harvest as some of the crops will not be able to recover. However, in the Shiselweni region the maize fields were observed to be in good condition.
In January, WFP assisted 153,835 drought affected people through emergency food distributions, of which 30,000 people received cash-based transfers. Also, some 7,700 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 comparing 2014 to 2015, reveals an increase in the number of patients defaulting from antiretroviral therapy (12 percent) and treatment for TB, and less adherence to HIV and TB treatment.
Social protection for Orphans and Vulnerable Children: Due to the drought impact, the project has been extended throughout 2017, to allow for assistance to continue in a time of increased need. WFP continues to support the Government to strengthen social protection systems.