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The United Nations (UN) agencies are always ready to assist Lesotho development to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This was revealed by UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Lesotho, Mr. Salvator Niyonzima at the briefing held at Maseru on Tuesday.

He said, to achieve this, the UN agencies have provided humanitarian efforts in response to EL Nino induced drought in Lesotho during the period of 2016 to 2017. 

He said this was the worst drought to have hit Lesotho in the last 35 years, as a result, the country experienced poor and delayed rainfall seasons, a decline in the recharge of aquifers and springs, loss of livestock and widespread crop failure with a massive drops in food production.

Mr. Niyonzima added that according to World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) there is a potential risk of El Nino phenomenon in 2017, therefore there is a need to strengthen emergency preparedness.

He further highlighted that there is also a need to reduce structural vulnerabilities by bolstering community resilience, saying a series of assessments identified number of people in need in rural settings and that at the peak, more than 58 percent of the rural population were in need of humanitarian assistance.

Furthermore, he mentioned that the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) partners have reached or exceeded response in most sectors, noting that sectors that received humanitarian response include agricultural, food security and social protection, health and nutrition, Gender Based Violence (GBV) protection as well as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). 

Mr. Niyonzima said the drought response has been built on a number of complementarities between existing government schemes and humanitarian assistance, adding complementarities between food security and agricultural interventions supported vulnerable households for the relief and recovery period.

A total of 466, 563 people have been reached so far through humanitarian intervention by the HCT partners. The number of people living with a food security survival deficit decreased from 476, 842 in May 2016 to 46, 521 in November 2016.

The emergency response is currently ongoing and is scheduled to continue until August 2017. 

Source: LENA 27/06/2017

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