22nd July 2024

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Half a million face “severe” hunger in Lesotho

Standard Lesotho Bank launches groundbreaking M11 million cashback rewards for loyal customers footer
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Sam Matekane takes a swing at saving Lesotho from hunger

…research reveals 581 000 people are living below the poverty line and will face severe hunger this year

Our Reporter

MASERU, Lesotho – While politicians continue bickering over power, nearly a quarter of Lesotho’s 2 million population is facing “severe hunger”.

According to the country’s Disaster Management Authority (DMA), over a quarter of the tiny Mountain Kingdom’s population is faced with severe hunger.

The Office of the Prime Minister said on Tuesday that the DMA had conducted nationwide research which revealed that at least 581 000 Basotho were living beyond the poverty line.

In response to this national crisis, Prime Minister Sam Matekane is expected to launch a food donation exercise in Morija, south of the capital, Maseru, where he will hand over food parcels to vulnerable families on Thursday to try and avert the hunger situation.

The new challenges are amid Matekane’s battle for political survival, as he has in the past month been fending off a motion of no confidence in parliament. Filed on 13 October by opposition Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, the motion was meant to replace Matekane with Democratic Congress (DC) leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu.

Read more on the subject

Lesotho Prime Minister faces no confidence motion

Drought leaves tens of thousands in Lesotho ‘one step from famine’

However, the motion has since been deferred by a litigation which seeks to block the opposition from overthrowing Matekane until the country’s constitutional, security and judicial reforms have been finalised. This case is still pending before the Constitutional Court and in the meantime, Matekane has garnered adequate support in parliament after getting into bed with former opposition party, Basotho Action Party (BAP) led by Professor Nqosa Mahao.

Mahao and his party have been rewarded with ministerial posts and will be appointed Wednesday.

In the 2023 Global Hunger Index, Lesotho ranks 121st out of the 125 countries. The index describes the hunger levels as “alarming”.

“With a score of 35.5, Lesotho has a level of hunger that is alarming,” notes the index.

The Global Hunger Index is a peer-reviewed annual report, jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels. GHI scores are calculated each year to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger. The GHI is designed to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger, provide a way to compare levels of hunger between countries and regions, and call attention to those areas of the world where hunger levels are highest and where the need for additional efforts to eliminate hunger is greatest. This country profile is based on data and information from the 2023 Global Hunger Index.

Launched on 12 October, “the 2023 Global Hunger Index shows that while some countries have made significant headway in reducing hunger little progress has been made on a global scale since 2015: hunger remains serious or alarming in 43 countries”.

Have a look at the 2023 GHI Ranking

“This stagnation relative to 2015 largely reflects the combined effects of several crises. These include the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, economic stagnation, the impacts of climate change, and the intractable conflicts facing many countries of the world,” reads the index.

Explore the global, regional, and national hunger trends

Large demographic groups such as youth, especially in low- and middle-income countries, are disproportionally affected. While youth will inherit food systems that are unable to meet the needs of people and planet, their participation in making decisions that will affect their future is limited, the index says.

While Lesotho has for many years been touted as a strong agricultural country, its perennial hunger situation has remained a constant whether the country receives good rains or not.

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