M35m drought relief from EU

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Pascalinah Kabi

The European Union (EU) has given Lesotho M35million for drought relief.

The money is for projects to be implemented by the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the EU noted in a statement released this week.

The funding, the statement added, was in response to the declaration of a drought emergency by government and the related appeal for international support.

The WFP and FAO projects would help vulnerable households adversely affected by the current El Niño-induced drought, which is Lesotho’s worst in four decades.

“The current El Niño weather phenomenon is the most severe on record. It is having devastating

humanitarian consequences around the globe. Populations that are already vulnerable, as is the case in southern Africa, are hit particularly hard. They are losing all means of subsistence they have. Today, with the help of our partners from the WFP and FAO, the EU will help bring much-needed food assistance to the people of Lesotho. Together, we will deliver emergency relief to thousands of people affected by the drought,” said European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

WFP and FAO would each receive one million euros (about M17 million) for the projects to be implemented in close coordination with the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) and relevant line ministries.

“The project to be implemented by the WFP will, over a period of six months, provide unconditional food assistance through cash transfers of M1020 per month to 1250 vulnerable households comprising around 6250 beneficiaries, who are not receiving any support through social protection programmes. The second project, to be implemented by FAO over a period of 12 months, will target vulnerable households who currently receive social protection cash transfers through the Child Grants Programme (CGP), an intervention that is also supported by the EU working in partnership with the Government of Lesotho and UNICEF,” the EU statement further noted.

It added: “The new EU-funded project with FAO will provide complementary support to 5000 households, comprising around 25,000 beneficiaries, who will receive training and kits for home gardening and nutrition, including 300g of vegetable seeds (of six varieties) and a shade net.

“Another 1750 households will receive a food production package which is expected to include 10kg of maize and 5kg of bean seeds, 5kg of grazing vetch seeds and 300g of vegetable seeds.

“Recipients of these packages will also be trained in integrated sustainable farming practices. This response builds on previous activities implemented by FAO with support from the European Union and other donors.”

The EU says it is confident this humanitarian assistance is going to make “a meaningful

contribution to meeting the urgent needs of people most at risk due to the drought and will also help build the resilience and capacity of beneficiaries to face any similar disasters in the future.”

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