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Lesotho is experiencing one of the most severe droughts in history due to below normal rainfall and temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius, as a result of the ongoing El Niño. These conditions have affected most agriculture activities, especially in the lowlands and foothills. Labor opportunities for weeding which usually peak between November and February will likely remain below normal. These conditions will continue to affect access to food and income by poor households who typically depend on this during the lean season. Furthermore, the anticipated green consumption is likely to be below normal, likely resulting in an extension of the lean season which could exacerbate the food insecurity situation of poor households.
Above normal temperatures have resulted in high rates of evapotranspiration across Lesotho, meaning that in order for crops to develop properly, more than normal amounts of water are needed. As the planting window comes to a close, the majority of areas did not receive adequate rains for planting, and seeds failed for those that did plant. As a result, there are now higher chances of an extremely poor harvest which could lead increased food insecurity during the 2016/17 consumption year.
According to satellite imagery, Lesotho is amongst the worst affected Southern Africa countries in terms of vegetation conditions. With severe shortages of water both for humans and animals, livestock body conditions have deteriorated and some livestock mortality is being recorded. As a result, income from livestock will continue to be reduced due to poor prices and low demand.
Household access to income is being affected by fewer opportunities for casual labor, a decline in remittances from South Africa, and low livestock prices. Combined with a continued rise in staple food prices, household purchasing power will likely be reduced, which may increase livelihood protection and food gaps. As a result, households will likely experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes, with some households likely to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between January and March. The foothills and low lands are the most affected areas although the greater part of Lesotho is also affected.
In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.