16 Jan 2002

Food Relief

Relief organisations have begun distributing food to about 36,000 people who are still suffering the after-effects of last year's adverse weather.

Birgitta Karlgren, World Food Programme (WFP) acting country director, told IRIN on Wednesday that about 2,200 mt of maize meal, beans and vegetable oil would be distributed to about 7,000 families over the next four months. She said food distributions began "a few days ago" in five eastern, southeastern and northeastern districts of Lesotho.

Karlgren said that frost and heavy rains had ruined many families' crops last year, and that with harvests due in April only, "now is real crucial time for these families". She said WFP had identified beneficiaries through a survey conducted during July and August last year, but that the project was only launched this month because the government had not approved the proposal to assist these families until November.

World Vision, the government and local non-governmental organisation (NGO) Dorcas are WFP's partners in the project. In October last year WFP warned that Lesotho was facing a "silent emergency" as drought-induced food shortages hit poor households.(IRIN)

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