580 000 Basotho to need food aid

580 000 Basotho to need food aid

MASERU-OVER a quarter of Lesotho’s 2 million people will need urgent food aid, according to the Disaster Management Authority (DMA)’s assessment released last week.

Most of the food insecure 582 169 individuals, who translate into 116 434 households, are from rural areas.
The DMA says 184 000 individuals or 36 800 households are from the urban population.

The rural population has been severely affected by poor harvests in the past harvesting and current years’ poor crops due to low rainfall.
Meanwhile, due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has resulted in thousands of lost jobs in various industries like textiles and tourism the urban population became food insecure.

According to the assessment, 91 174 tons of food worth over M1.4 billion are needed to assist the vulnerable population from August 2020 to January 2021.

Due to the prevailing situation of lost jobs, income, markets for livestock and increase in food prices the food insecure population is expected to increase, the DMA said.

As a result, high rates of malnutrition due to decreased access to food are expected.

The DMA has recommended, among other things, immediate conditional and unconditional humanitarian assistance for all households facing survival deficits.

It also called on the government to establish a market system that provides opportunities for all local producers, so that the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) and other similar organisations can procure supplies from farmers.

Lemohang Rakotsoane

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