About 75% of the population of Lesotho live in rural areas, and more than 75% of these are engaged in agriculture – mostly traditional, low input, low output, rain-fed cereal production – and extensive animal grazing. In the past, remittances from mineworkers were a major source of rural livelihoods, providing vital cash needed to purchase agricultural inputs and productive assets or to invest in household assets and housing, but remittances have declined steadily over the past decade as competition for jobs in the South African mining sector intensifies. Lesotho has the third highest HIV adult prevalence rate in the world at 23.6 percent, according to the 2009 UNAIDS report. According to the 2009 estimate, 290,000 people are living with HIV, 28,000 of them children. This year, Lesotho experienced a more than 70% drop in domestic agricultural production that has put more than 725,000 people - over a third of the population - at serious risk of food insecurity.
OCHA ROSA has been supporting the National Disaster Management Authority to strengthen response preparedness, and have also been working with other agencies to support long-term disaster risk reduction (DRR). Specific support includes:
- Training on contingency planning, risk analysis and emergency preparedness for UN and Government, and supporting the review of disaster risk management policies.
- Humanitarian Reform in 2008 and 2009, particularly coordination strengthening and humanitarian financing.
- The development of CERF applications and flash appeals for drought in 2007, floods in 2011, and food insecurity in 2011 and 2012.
- The revision of Preparedness and Response plan;
- Supporting the UNCT in the revision of the pandemic influenza preparedness and response plans.