WFP Lesotho Country Brief, January 2021

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In Numbers

9,804 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lesotho including 210 deaths and 2,888 recoveries (10 February 2021)

US$ 10.8 m six months (February 2021–July 2021) net funding requirements

343,410 People targeted in 2021

Operational Updates

• On 02 February 2021, following the Right Honourable Prime Minister’s speech on COVID-19 mitigation measures, Lesotho moved back to Orange colour coding stage, implying no movements across borders except for essential goods and services.

• All ten districts of Lesotho are currently classified to be in Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) 3 (crisis) or worse, with some 582,000 people in rural areas and a further 184,000 people in urban contexts experiencing acute food insecurity. Food prices remain high while thousands of households and migrant workers have lost their incomes due to loss or reduced job opportunities as a result of COVID-19.

• COVID-19 Response: The urban cash transfer interventions have ended. In efforts to support the most vulnerable people in urban areas who are affected by the impacts of COVID-19, WFP initiated a six-month cash assistance (August 2020–January 2021) to a total of 8,500 households, representing 42,500 people (52 percent female) in the urban councils of Maseru, Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing and Qacha’s Nek districts. Each household received USD 55 (LSL 831) per month.

• Lean Season Response: A total of 6,300 vulnerable households representing 31,500 people (52 percent female) from the rural districts of Mokhotlong and Thaba-tseka are being assisted through commodity vouchers, which are redeemable at local retail shops, and mobile cash transacted through the Vodacom Mpesa platform. Each household receives a monthly entitlement amounting to USD 53 (LSL 811) per household.

• School Feeding: With the closure of schools since March 2020, WFP continues to provide take-home rations of canned fish to a total of 30,473 learners. About 29,527 Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centres representing 49 percent of the plan have not received any support since the closure of school in mid-March 2020. With available resources, WFP is looking into how to prioritize the most vulnerable learners from districts with high food insecurity and high malnutrition rate.

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