This project responds to the food security needs of 4,500 affected beneficiaries with a focus on food distributions, cash transfer, health and hygiene promotion, and livelihoods and related training activities, and the distribution of seeds and tools. Lesotho last had normal rainfall between April and May 2015. This made it difficult for Basotho (the Lesotho people) to be engaged in winter ploughing due to scarce moisture. The first rains were expected between August, September, October and November, but it is reported that vegetation conditions experienced in November 2015 were at their lowest in 15 years. According to the December 2015 FEWSNET1 report the strong El Niño event enhanced probabilities of below-normal rainfall and continued dry conditions in Southern Africa. Lesotho`s onset of rains was delayed by 30-40 days affecting land preparation and other agricultural activities. Of the few people who managed to plant their fields, the crops are dying off due to this prolonged dry spell. These conditions have also negatively affected livestock conditions due to poor pasture and limited availability of water. Out of 10 districts the five hard to reach districts in Lesotho are the most affected including Qacha’s Nek, Mokhotlong, Thaba Tseka, Quthing and Mafeteng.
Immediate food distribution in the first two months (Jan and Feb 2016). Cash transfer programming to ensure targeted beneficiaries meet their household food needs. Distribution of drought resistant seeds and fertilizers to support livelihoods recovery. Training of affected communities on farming techniques, including farming practices which will minimise the impact of drought such as seed selection, inter cropping, intensified mulching, rotational cropping, and soil and moisture conserving practices like keyhole and trench gardening. This will also look at climate change and adaptation, promoting and sharing community indigenous knowledge, practices, looking at the fuelling factors for climate change and their relation to disaster response approaches, mapping community resources and capacities, and examining hazardous issues leading to climate change.
An estimated 15-30 percent of Lesotho’s population are in need of humanitarian assistance to help them cope with this acute drought situation. The Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC) report for 2015 indicates a deterioration in the food security situation with the number of people in need going from 447,760 in the previous season to 463,936 this season (an increase in prevalence from 26% to 33%). On-going safety net interventions including school feeding, cash transfers and food assistance interventions by the GoL and NGOs have however covered a significant caseload of the food insecure population leaving 180,880 people (36,176 households) in need of immediate food assistance. These households will need food assistance over a period of three to eight months until at least June 2016.