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Emergency assistance for vulnerable households affected by El Niño drought conditions in Lesotho

Countries: Lesotho | Operations ID: 200939 | Operations type: Emergency Operation (EMOP)

This operation has expired in May 2016.

Across Southern Africa, the El Niño event officially declared in March 2015 is forecasted to continue and to peak in the first quarter of 2016. The Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) has predicted the worst drought in decades.

In Lesotho, current water shortages have been compounded by the cumulative impact of poor rainfall in previous years. During the 2014/2015 agricultural season, the planted area dropped by 19 and 29 percent relative to the 2013/14 and 2008/9 seasons, respectively, when average conditions were experienced. The result has been a sharp decline in food production and a failure to plant new crops by a large proportion of farmers. Crop estimates suggest that the next harvest is likely to be at historically low levels.

On 22 December 2015 the Government of Lesotho declared a state of emergency and launched an appeal seeking the support of development partners and the broader international community to address the effects of the drought. At a total appeal value of US$38 million, the Government of Lesotho has committed to make some US$10 million available for the response

This immediate response emergency operation (IR-EMOP) will be implemented in the Mafeteng and Mohales’hoek districts of Lesotho. Of all ten districts in the
country, these are experiencing some of the highest levels of acute food insecurity as a result of El Niño-related drought conditions.

WFP currently implements school meals and nutrition programmes in Mafeteng and Mohales’hoek, targeting a combined total of approximately 30,000 beneficiaries. During 2015, WFP also implemented a Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) programme in the same locations, supporting 30,250 people with the creation of community assets to enhance resilience to shocks and disasters