Le­sotho seeks M345 mil­lion for drought re­lief

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

PRIME Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili is set to meet de­vel­op­ment part­ners to­mor­row as the coun­try seeks M345 mil­lion for drought re­lief. Ac­cord­ing to Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing, the premier would meet rep­re­sen­ta­tives of var­i­ous de­vel­op­ment agen­cies in Maseru.

Le­sotho is in the throes of its worst drought in four decades as a re­sult of El Niño- a pe­ri­odic cli­matic phe­nom­e­non char­ac­terised by in­ad­e­quate rain in some parts of the world and floods in oth­ers. Un­der El Niño, parts of South Amer­ica ex­pe­ri­ence heavy rain­fall, while dry con­di­tions pre­vail in Aus­tralia, south-east Asia and south­ern Africa.

In Le­sotho, El Niño’s com­bi­na­tion of very hot and dry con­di­tions be­tween De­cem­ber 2015 and Jan­uary 2016 dras­ti­cally re­duced agri­cul­tural yields and left thou­sands food in­se­cure.

As a re­sult, the premier de­clared a state of emer­gency on 22 De­cem­ber to co­or­di­nate drought mit­i­ga­tion ef­forts. Mr Mets­ing said Le­sotho needed “at least M500 mil­lion” for the drought re­lief pro­gramme, adding govern­ment had al­ready set aside M155 mil­lion for that pur­pose.

“The govern­ment has set aside M155 mil­lion which has al­ready been al­lo­cated to the most af­fected sec­tors,” he said.

“A to­tal of M131 mil­lion has been al­lo­cated to the Min­istry of Wa­ter, M10 mil­lion to the Agri­cul­ture and Food Se­cu­rity min­istry while the Min­istry of Health will get M13 mil­lion.”

The deputy premier said the govern­ment would ask de­vel­op­ment part­ners to as­sist in rais­ing the short­fall.

“The govern­ment is pre­par­ing to sub­mit a re­quest to its de­vel­op­ment part­ners, friends of Le­sotho and non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions,” he said.

“The prime min­is­ter will meet with them on Fri­day to see how best they can help with the re­main­ing amount of money needed for our drought re­lief pro­gramme.”

Mr Mets­ing said the ma­jor­ity of Ba­sotho were still un­able to ac­cess clean wa­ter de­spite the rains ex­pe­ri­enced over the past weeks.

“We are still in a state of emer­gency, and the govern­ment has taken dras­tic steps to ad­dress the at­ten­dant prob­lems which in­clude the out­break of dis­eases among both hu­mans and an­i­mals as a re­sult of con­sum­ing un­clean wa­ter,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port com­piled last Novem­ber by the Of­fice for the Co­or­di­na­tion of Hu­man­i­tar­ian Affairs and dubbed “Le­sotho Vul­ner­a­bil­ity As­sess­ment Com­mit­tee Re­sults”, 463 939 peo­ple were food in­se­cure.

The re­port noted that from the 463 939 food in­se­cure peo­ple, 179 944 were in need of im­me­di­ate as­sis­tance.

PRIME Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili

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