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Lesotho faces grave urban hunger - King

His Majesty King Letsie III

Oct. 6, 2020 2 min read

2 min read

AS THE United Nations (UN) special Ambassador for Nutrition, His Majesty King Letsie III says Lesotho faces an acute urban hunger and vulnerabilities which people have always known existed, but were not well prepared to address.

In some countries, he said the COVID-19 pandemic has added yet another layer of suffering and complexity to existing and long-lasting crisis, worsening the prevalence of hunger, poverty and malnutrition.

This, the King mentioned at the session on overcoming food security and nutrition roadblocks in social protection response to COVID-19, which was held on October 6 2020 at the Royal Palace in Maseru.

In his key note address, His Majesty said the impact of COVID-19 on economies and health systems globally has been drastic and all encompassing. 

He showed that while containment measures have saved lives, they have also triggered economic recessions and severe impacts on communities and individuals.

The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that in 79 countries where it operates from, the hunger of acutely food insecure people could increase by 80% from 149 million during the pre-COVID 19 period, to over a quarter of billion by the end of 2020.

The humanitarian body further shows that every low and middle income country faces these challenges.

When bringing the matter closer to the southern African region, King Letsie III said the COVID-19 crisis alone is likely to reverse the gains made towards the sustainable development goals.

He said the pandemic has exacerbated the situation that was already precarious, the food insecurity that was already alarmingly high even prior to COVID-19 pandemic, with a record of 45 million insecure people.

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He further indicated that the pandemic has brought to the fore the importance of social protection systems to shield the population against, not only the health crisis, but also against hunger and malnutrition.

As livelihoods are put under strain and the socio-economic impact of the pandemic kick-in, he said the ability of households to provide nutrition diets for themselves and their families is even more compromised.

While measures to contain the virus are put in place around the globe, he noted that there are people who are more concerned about dying from poverty and hunger than the virus itself, adding that the inability of members of the community to meet their food and nutrition needs also compromised their immunity and ability to fight as well as defeat the virus.






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