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More than 90% of disasters in Lesotho are related to climate variability and change, specifically, drought, snowfall, hailstorms, strong wind, localized floods, and early frost and pest infestations. Water, agriculture, forestry, human health, and livestock are the country’s most vulnerable sectors with respect to climate variability and change. Most recently, the country suffered from a severe drought from 2015 to 2017, due largely to El Niño events that affected Southern Africa. This had dramatic impacts to the country’s food security situation and required international food assistance from international donors.
Agriculture is a key economic sector and a major source of employment in Lesotho, with 60%–70% of the country’s labour earnings derived from agriculture. Agriculture is predominantly small-scale, and characterized by rainfed cereal production with extensive animal grazing; the livestock subsector contributes approximately double that of the crop subsector. Home gardening is also an important source of horticultural produce, with an estimated 70% of rural households producing vegetables. has faced food deficits for several consecutive years. The growing vulnerability and deepening food insecurity are generally associated with widespread livelihood failure for many rural households. Just less than half the population (49%) experience moderate or severe food insecurity.
Health systems and outcomes will also be affected, as climate change trends could aggravate heat stress, increase the range vector-borne diseases including malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever, and exacerbate air pollution, which could impact communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, and other respiratory disease. With the upsurge in HIV/ AIDS related chronic illnesses, family members have assumed greater roles in care giving, a practice that represents a drain on household resources, depresses productive capacities, and further threatens food security and livelihoods.