Lesotho 2012

CERF provides $6.2 million in response to food insecurity in Lesotho

21 August 2012: More than 725,000 people in Lesotho will require humanitarian assistance in the coming months, according to Government and United Nations estimates. Food insecurity and chronic vulnerability to hunger are common in rural Lesotho. Poor soil and two years of drastically low crop yields have made matters worse for families already struggling to produce or buy food.

Heavy rains and flooding almost halved Lesotho’s maize production during the 2010/11 farming season. This caused the price of maize to increase by 24 per cent, and placed a heavy strain on the 40 per cent of the population living in extreme poverty. A prolonged period of drought followed during the 2011-2012 season, forcing many small farmers to forgo planting.

The cumulative effect of two poor harvests has pushed people to resort to negative coping mechanisms, such as selling assets, taking children out of school and reducing meals. Further compounding the food crisis, Lesotho has the third highest HIV prevalence rate worldwide, with nearly one quarter (23.5 per cent) of the population infected. Adequate calories and nutritious food are critical for the survival of HIV-positive people.

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CERF in Action - Rapid Response