Lesotho 2011

CERF provides $2.7 million for Lesotho food crisis response

16 September 2011: Some $2.7 million was provided from the CERF for UN agencies to respond to a food security crisis in Lesotho. Heavy rains caused widespread destruction to Lesotho’s farming in late 2010 and early 2011. Food security assessments showed that food shortages caused by the rains had combined with already high food prices to cause acute vulnerability, particularly among poorer households.

Nearly $1.6 million was allocated by the CERF to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), enabling it to provide agricultural support to 75,000 people. Agricultural trade fairs were organized in the worst-affected areas, and seeds and fertilisers were provided to support food production during the next planting season.

The World Food Programme (WFP) used $1.1 million of CERF funding to launch a ‘food for work’ programme, benefiting 15,000 of the poorest people affected. Food distributions focused on vulnerable groups such as female-headed households and children.

CERF allocated $1.3 million in response to excessive rain in Lesotho

4 April 2011: In response to humanitarian concerns arising from the heaviest rains recorded in a ten-year period in the country, CERF has allocated some $1.3 million for humanitarian response in Lesotho.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will receive some $700,000 to provide support for farming households affected by excessive rains. Some $250,000 has been allocated to the World Health Organization (WHO) for response to health and nutrition concerns. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will receive some $200,000 for emergency provision of water, sanitation facilities and hygiene education. Finally, the World Food Programme (WFP) will use some $200,000 for emergency food assistance to households affected by the heavy rains.

The total rainfall northern Lesotho received during 41 days in December 2010 and January 2011 was equivalent to the total rainfall the country normally receives over 6 months. The rest of the country received three months’ rainfall during this time. According to an initial Government-led rapid assessment conducted in mid-January 2011, these excessive rains have caused widespread damage in agriculture, infrastructure and the health situation.

34 per cent of crops have been lost, and nearly 5,000 livestock have died from disease and pneumonia. Flooding has contaminated water and destroyed essential infrastructure, damaged roads and bridges are preventing people from accessing health care and other services, and there have been 30 cases of death due to drowning. Over 600 homes were completely destroyed, many more are damaged, and four people died when a rock dislodged by the rains crushed their house.

250,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance. While resources, such as subsidised agriculture inputs, have been obtained by the Government, these are still beyond the reach of the most vulnerable. Present priorities include life-saving assistance in agriculture, food assistance, water and sanitation and emergency health care to those in areas most affected by the heavy rains.

CERF in Action - Rapid Response