WFP gives cash to vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies

Lesotho Times - - News -

Mo­hale’s hoek — The World Food Pro­gramme (WFP) has started dis­tribut­ing un­con­di­tional cash to 10,000 peo­ple af­fected by the el Niño-in­duced drought in Mo­hale’s hoek district.

a tar­get­ing ex­er­cise un­der­way in Mafeteng district will also pave way for the pro­vi­sion of money to 10,915 peo­ple in that district later this month.

last month, WFP, through its droughte­mer­gency re­sponse, started pro­vid­ing M1,020 to each of the 2,000 fam­i­lies af­fected by the drought in Mo­hale’s hoek and would soon dis­trib­ute the same amount to 2,183 in­di­vid­ual house­holds in Mafeteng district also fac­ing a sim­i­lar predica­ment.

WFP’S emer­gency Fund pro­vided M16.4 mil­lion, which will pro­vide as­sis­tance to 4,183 fam­i­lies most af­fected by the drought in the two dis­tricts. on av­er­age, the un­con­di­tional cash-trans­fers will sup­port 20,915 peo­ple. The fam­i­lies will re­ceive cash for three months while WFP con­tin­ues mo­bil­is­ing ad­di­tional re­sources for a wider emer­gency re­sponse be­yond June 2016.

le­sotho is one of the coun­tries worst af­fected by the drought in the south­ern african re­gion. The govern­ment de­clared a drought emer­gency on 22 De­cem­ber 2015 and ap­pealed for hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance on 5 Fe­bru­ary 2016.

how­ever, de­spite in­tense fundrais­ing ef­forts by de­vel­op­ment part­ners in le­sotho, the drought is yet to at­tract the much-needed fund­ing in or­der to save the lives of the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, in­clud­ing chil­dren, peo­ple liv­ing with HIV and many hun­gry sub­sis­tence farm­ers who could not plant crops due to the ex­treme tem­per­a­tures ex­pe­ri­enced be­tween oc­to­ber and De­cem­ber 2015.

The re­sults of a Joint Drought Rapid as­sess­ment re­leased early last month showed the num­ber of peo­ple in need of food as­sis­tance has in­creased to 534,000 peo­ple — up from 464,000, ac­cord­ing to the 2015 Vul­ner­a­bil­ity as­sess­ment. The half-a-mil­lion peo­ple, who ex­clude those in ur­ban ar­eas, will need food as­sis­tance un­til June 2016.

WFP, work­ing with the govern­ment, re- cently con­ducted a Mar­ket as­sess­ment, which among other is­sues, as­sessed the func­tion­al­ity of the mar­kets among other food price-re­lated mat­ters. This will com­ple­ment re­sults from the Rapid as­sess­ment.

last satur­day, WFP Coun­try Di­rec­tor, Ms Mary Njoroge, vis­ited some fam­i­lies who have re­ceived cash as­sis­tance in Mo­hale’s hoek district.

“WFP is pro­vid­ing cash as an im­me­di­ate in­ter­ven­tion to re­spond to the ef­fects of the se­vere drought on fam­i­lies re­ly­ing solely on agri­cul­ture and not ex­pect­ing to har­vest any­thing this year. The in­ter­ven­tion also aims to help fam­i­lies that do not re­ceive any so­cial as­sis­tance and with­out any vi­able source of in­come or pro­duc­tive as­set as a re­sult of the drought,” says Ms Njoroge, adding WFP is ap­peal­ing for in-kind and in-cash as­sis­tance for the many farm­ing fam­i­lies who have lost live­stock and are ex­pect­ing their next har­vest in June 2017, pro­vided weather con­di­tions are favourable.

“We have started pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance but the ma­jor chal­lenge is that the needs are over­whelm­ing and this sup­port is a drop in an ocean. harder times lie ahead be­cause many farm­ing fam­i­lies, who con­sti­tute 80 per­cent of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion, have con­sumed all the food they har­vested last year. Food prices are al­ready be­yond the reach of many peo­ple, in­clud­ing those in ur­ban ar­eas.”

In most ru­ral ar­eas, the sta­ple maize meal price has in­creased by be­tween 30 and 50 per­cent since De­cem­ber 2015. high de­mand for ba­sic food items such as maize meal, meat, veg­eta­bles and flour in south­ern Africa will con­tinue trig­ger­ing in­creases and also the cost of liv­ing.

‘Man­thabiseng Mo­let­sane is one of the fam­i­lies vis­ited by the WFP Coun­try Di­rec­tor. a widow look­ing af­ter a fam­ily of 12, Ms Mo­let­sane re­ceived M1,020 last Thurs­day. she used the money to buy 25kg of maize meal, 12.2kg of flour, a kilo­gramme of beans, a kilo­gramme of sugar, 500gramme salt, 750ml veg­etable oil, a car­ton of matches, some paraf­fin and a bar of soap. Un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances, the fam­ily re­lies on sub­sis­tence farm­ing and work­ing in other peo­ple’s fields.

“I am very grate­ful for the help my fam­ily re­ceived from WFP. Be­fore re­ceiv­ing the money we were beg­ging for food from neigh­bours who had started com­plain­ing be­cause their stocks are now de­pleted,” says Ms Mo­let­sane.

The Disas­ter Man­age­ment au­thor­ity used the re­sults of the Rapid as­sess­ment to iden­tify the most af­fected coun­cils in the tar­geted dis­tricts of Mafeteng and Mo­hale’s hoek.

In Mo­hale’s Hoek, five of the seven coun­cils were se­lected while the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in all the eight coun­cils of Mafeteng will re­ceive cash-as­sis­tance be­tween March and May 2016.

In this im­me­di­ate emer­gency re­sponse, WFP is also work­ing with other part­ners in­clud­ing Word Vi­sion In­ter­na­tional, Min­istry of agri­cul­ture and Food se­cu­rity, Min­istry of Forestry, Range and soil Con­ser­va­tion and stan­dard le­sotho Bank, through which cash pay­ments are made.

— Wf­ple­sotho

‘Man­thabiseng Mo­let­sane (in black) and her fam­ily af­ter re­ceiv­ing help from WFP.

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