• Crisis Severity ?
    2.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    1.9
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    2.7
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    1.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
     
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 2,100,000 Total population [?]
  • 724,000 People affected [?]
  • 229,000 People in Need [?]

Overview

30/01/2022

More than 328,000 people (22% of the assessed population) were facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity between November–December 2021, including 17,000 people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels. Waterlogging, high food prices, and declining purchasing power caused by the impact of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have been intensifying the food security crisis that Lesotho has been experiencing since the last El Niño events in 2015–2016. Most districts in Lesotho are affected by drought, with around 25-30% of the population in Crisis or above (IPC Phase 3 or worse) food levels.?Lesotho is vulnerable to natural hazards such as windstorms, floods, and drought, which result in displacement, loss of food stock, and disruption of livelihood activities.?

Above-average food prices have been recorded in 2021 in Lesotho. The prices of maize flour, wheat flour, and beans increased in the second half of the year compared to the first. Prices of some agricultural items such as fertilizers are expected to increase in 2022, affecting the production process and increasing prices of some food items such as grain.?

The food insecurity situation is projected to worsen between January–March 2022 because of the lean season starting in November, floodwater ponding in low-lying areas during the rainy season starting in October, and the risk of increased COVID-19 cases. Projections indicate that 338,000 people (23% of the population analysed) are likely to face Crisis or above (IPC Phase 3 or worse) levels of food insecurity, including 26,000 people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels.?

Latest Developments

03/03/2022

No recent significant humanitarian developments. The crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

Update from the October 2020 Global Risk Analysis

06/04/2021

Reintroduction of COVID-19 mitigation measures results in decreased access to livelihoods and a deterioration in food security

The risk identified by ACAPS in October 2020 has materialised; however, its consequences are only likely to be seen and assessed in the coming months.

Lesotho and South Africa have faced a surge of COVID-19 cases since December 2020, leading to the reintroduction of mitigation measures including lockdowns, border closures, and movement restrictions.? COVID-19 containment measures implemented since March 2020 had significant negative effects on Lesotho’s economy, impacting livelihoods and food security. The relaxation of restrictions in October 2020 led to the return of near-normal levels of economic activity. The reintroduction of COVID-19 measures in January 2021, including a 21-day lockdown, has slowed down the economy again and has impacted livelihood opportunities, especially for urban poor households that depend on daily and weekly wages.? In February, following a drop in the number of cases, some economic and social activities were newly allowed and some border points with South Africa reopened. A negative COVID-19 test result is required to cross the border.? According to the latest IPC analysis, over 582,000 people (40% of the assessed population) in Lesotho are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher levels of food insecurity between October 2020- March 2021. This is a 35% increase compared to the October 2019-March 2020 period. While the analysis takes into account losses of remittances and employment opportunities driven by COVID-19, it is not clear if figures will further increase following the easing of the measures. Businesses are still not operating at normal levels.? The evolution of the pandemic and the spread of new strains (including the South African variant) are unpredictable. Plans for vaccine campaigns are still unclear. These factors could potentially further impact livelihoods and food security in Lesotho.

KEY PRIORITIES

30/01/2022

Food: Food needs increase in Lesotho during the lean season (October–March). About 328,000 people are food-insecure and require humanitarian assistance to reduce food gaps and prevent acute malnutrition.?

Health: Maternal and child mortality and HIV/AIDS rates in Lesotho are among the highest in the world. Around 33% of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition.?

WASH: Drought affects the provision of safe drinking water, increasing the risk of water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea.?