Islamic Relief is distributing food in Lesotho, in Southern Africa, where 650,000 people face hunger caused by widespread drought.
In December, the Government of Lesotho declared a state of emergency and appealed for help from the international community.
More than a quarter of the population of Lesotho, a small country entirely surrounded by South Africa, are struggling for food following two successive crop failures. Reduced rainfall, likely to be caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon, has dried up many water sources, including the majority of rivers in the district of Berea in north-west Lesotho where around 250,000 people live.
The cost of food available in the country has risen, and subsistence farmers have not been able to make use of the planting season as the ground is too hard and dry. The country’s Disaster Management Authority estimates that 650,000 people will need food assistance in 2016.
Islamic Relief’s office in South Africa is distributing food and non-food items such as kitchen sets and hygiene kits. Humanitarian experts travelled to Lesotho to assess the needs of affected communities, and the contents of food parcels were drawn up accordingly.
The second stage of the programme will focus on disaster risk reduction and preparedness, and specialists will work with communities to discover how they can best protect themselves from drought and erratic weather patterns in the future.