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Lesotho: El Niño Situation Update 7 (as of 7 August 2017)


  • The response to the El Niño-induced drought is still ongoing and is scheduled to continue until August 2017. While most humanitarian relief activities have been completed, the outstanding interventions will be terminated in the upcoming weeks and form the transition to the resiliencebuilding dimension.
  • The first integrated urban and rural vulnerability assessment undertaken, in June 2017, projects a total of 306,942 people food insecure from September 2017 to March 2018 (224,664 rural and 82,278 urban). The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis predicts Lesotho to be at Phase 1 (minimal) of food insecurity until September. As of October, Lesotho is projected to reach IPC Phase 2 (stressed).
  • The food security situation has greatly improved due to the availability of food from household harvests, improved incomes and decreasing staple prices. In 2017, the national crop forecast estimates a total crop production of 239,361 metric tonnes, the highest within the past ten years.
  • The June 2017 Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment (LVAC) sees acute food security needs and malnutrition rates reducing, while chronic malnutrition and a considerable residue of food insecure communities remains. Humanitarian partners in Lesotho have recently developed an initial set of preparedness activities in various sectors, in order to set up medium to long term solutions which would mitigate the impact of further shocks, including a potential El Niño phenomenon in 2017.
  • Humanitarian partners have been able to secure more than USD 40 million for the relief dimension of the response (more than 77% of the requested funds). The drought response in Lesotho is one of the best funded emergency responses in the Eastern and Southern African region against the financial requirements. The Government of Lesotho (GoL) has committed around USD 23 million through humanitarian interventions and a food subsidy program.
  • A total of 466,563 beneficiaries have been reached so far through humanitarian interventions by humanitarian partners.
  • The GoL together with its partners is currently developing a National Resilience Strategy Framework to address chronic gaps in the climate change adaptation, food security, chronic malnutrition and health emergencies. Further interventions are planned to strengthen emergency preparedness and resilience in Lesotho.
  • According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), there is currently a 35-45% chance of another global El Niño event taking place during the second half of 2017. The likelihood for the region to be affected will be updated during the month of August.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
United Nations Resident Coordinators Office
Original Publication Date: 
07 Aug 2017
Document type: 
Situation Report
Food/Nutrition Crisis
Information Management
Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC)
Inter-Cluster Coordination
Natural Disasters