EU increases support for food insecure Basotho

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EU Ambassador Dr Michael Doyle (1)Staff Reporter

THE European Union has increased its support for Basotho most affected by the El Nino-induced drought to 5.5 million euros (approximately M 88 million).

This was revealed this week by European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides who said the support was provided under the EU’s humanitarian aid budget.

In a statement, the EU said the new support “represents new EU funding of 3.5 million euros on top of the 2 million euros in humanitarian aid that the EU already mobilised in March 2016, following the appeal of the Government of Lesotho for international support to respond to the impact of the drought on the population.”

The statement also quoted Commissioner Stylianides as saying that “this substantial increase in the EU funding provided in response to the drought in Lesotho will allow the EU and our three implementing partners to extend into the first half of 2017 the vital humanitarian aid provided to the most vulnerable”.

The EU further stated that two of its funded projects already under implementation by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) were receiving top-up funding, bringing the total amounts allocated to 2 million euros for WFP and 1.5 million euros for FAO.

“In addition, an amount of 2 million euros has been allocated to a new EU supported drought relief project to be implemented by Action Aid.

The project undertaken through WFP was already providing unconditional food assistance for vulnerable families through targeted cash transfers,” the EU said.

The EU also said the FAO implemented project was providing vulnerable households with complementary support such as training and kits for home gardening and nutrition, as well as food production packages and associated training on integrated sustainable farming practices.

The EU further stated that the new project to be implemented by Action Aid would also address short to medium term food security needs of vulnerable drought affected households.

The statement also quoted European Union Ambassador Michael Doyle as saying that “the EU’s provision of additional humanitarian aid funding to support vulnerable Basotho most affected by the current drought is in keeping with the commitment given by the EU at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 to support countries most affected by the current food security crisis caused by El Niño”.

The El Nino weather phenomenon ravaged southern Africa last year causing a drought which left millions of people in desperate need of food aid while livestock also perished due to lack of drinking water and reduced pastures.

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