In a proactive move to counter the impending El Nino’s potential impact on Lesotho, the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have secured a substantial M57 million fund.
This initiative follows the preliminary forecast released by the Lesotho Meteorological Service (LMS) in June this year, which indicated a likelihood of reduced rainfall during the upcoming season.
â€œThis project aims to safeguard lives and livelihoods from the immediate effects of potential hazards, protect long-term development gains, and ultimately reduce the cost of humanitarian response,â€ explained â€˜Mamonaheng Monoto, Maseru District Disaster Manager at DMA.
Mono said this during the National Stakeholder Anticipatory Action Plan and Activation meeting held at Avani Maseru earlier this week.
To address the anticipated challenges brought by drought, she said the project will focus on communities in Mafeteng, Mohaleâ€™s Hoek, Quthing, and Thaba-Tseka districts.
The targeted population in these areas comprises chronically vulnerable individuals, most susceptible to the adverse impacts of climate change, particularly drought.
Monoto emphasised the importance of proactive measures.
â€œWe donâ€™t wait for our water sources to dry out before we provide water to households. With anticipatory action, we know that drought is going to occur and that there will be an issue of water shortage, so we start by putting together all the measures that will help communities to have adequate water before drought occurs.â€
The project will involve the provision of crucial agricultural inputs, including nutrition-rich, drought-tolerant, and early-maturing seeds, as well as fodder seeds and pesticides.
Additionally, it will facilitate the transfer of cash for social protection to locally vulnerable and economically disadvantaged households.
While the secured M57 million is a significant step, Motolo acknowledged that the initially targeted M145 million would have allowed them to address a broader range of challenges brought about by climate change.
â€œDue to the shortfall of M88 million, certain items had to be adjusted, with a focus on purchasing drought-tolerant vegetable seeds,â€ she said.
According to the LMSâ€™s forecast, El Nino conditions are expected to persist until March 2024, indicating drier conditions from October to December 2023, likely extending into the following months.
â€œThese conditions are often associated with a delayed onset of rains, alongside warmer temperatures in the summer,â€ read the LMSâ€™s statement.
An estimated budget of $1,399,699.56 (M25,194,592.08) has been allocated to assist 5,218 households living in very poor conditions across the four districts.
This budget will be utilised for developing and disseminating Early Warning key messages, unconditional Cash-Based Transfer for social protection, and providing essential agricultural inputs.