The United Nations system in Lesotho has issued the first Situation Update on the El Niño weather phenomenon. The report was produced in collaboration with humanitarian partners and covers the period up to 19 January 2016.
- Following extremely poor rains during the first half of the rainfall season, the Lesotho Government has declared a drought emergency and has established an Inter-Ministerial Task Force to oversee the response.
- The Government of Lesotho has developed a National Response Plan to address the situation and has issued an Appeal Document.
- Consecutive poor harvests since 2014-2015, the weakening Rand and drought conditions are escalating the crisis as livelihoods are affected and many people and services are without or have limited access to water.
- There is an increased likelihood of water-borne diseases and access to health and education facilities is hampered by limited water availability.
- Livestock diseases and mortality are increasing as a result of poor feeding sources and scarcity of water.
- Some projections indicate that the number of people affected will surpass the 725,000 figure during the 2012 crisis due to the increasing food prices in the sub region and the unprecedented severity of the drought.