THE European Union (EU) this week officially handed over M17 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) for a hunger alleviation programme in Maseru and Qacha’s Nek districts.
The intervention is targeting to assist 14 760 people in 2952 households. Each of the beneficiaries started receiving M714 cash last month.
The money is meant to enable the beneficiaries to purchase basic food items to sustain themselves until the next harvest season.
WFP country director, Aurore Rusiga, said that the money would benefit families that had been immensely affected by climate change which had disrupted weather patterns across the globe and caused frequent droughts.
“The funding, provided by the EU’s civil protection and humanitarian aid operations (ECHO) will be used to reach families worst affected by the impacts of rising climate shocks, food prices and the prolonged effects of Covid-19 in the capital Maseru and Qacha’s Nek districts,” Ms Rusiga said.
“Each household will receive M714 in cash, per month, allowing them to buy food items from local markets.
“We thank the EU for continuing its support. This timely contribution will help the WFP save lives by supporting those who are most at risk and change lives by improving the food security and nutrition of targeted people.”
She added that the WFP would also undertake social behaviour change communication (SBCC) initiatives during the cash distributions to provide information on basic hygiene for the prevention of Covid-19, as well as information on nutritional practices to enhance purchasing choices for households to meet their nutritional needs.
Ms Rusiga said they had also dedicated a toll-free number, 80011111, to enable the public to report abuse of the facility.
EU Ambassador to Lesotho, Paola Amadei, said they were always ready to support humanitarian work.
“The EU continues to support partners such as the WFP to provide life-saving food assistance to the most vulnerable people suffering the effects of climate shocks and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are aware that people in urban and peri-urban areas who lost their jobs or businesses have been hit hard by climate shocks, and we want to contribute to alleviating their suffering as a consequence of the pandemic,” Ms Amadei said.
On her part, Social Development Ministry representative, Takatso Shale, said they would work hard to ensure that the funds reach the intended targets.
According to the WFP, only Butha Buthe, Leribe and Mohale’s Hoek are the only districts that currently have enough food to last until the next harvest season in May 2022.