Lesotho—When Coy Webb first met Mosa*, she was walking. It was a miracle.
While visiting Lesotho, the Kentucky Baptist Convention disaster relief director said, he sat down with the woman by her mud brick hut. Baptist Global Response partner Teresa Flora told him how she met Mosa, an impoverished widow, when she had been too sick to work.
Flora had given her hospice items—simple comforts like socks and drinking straws—and that had been enough to give Mosa hope. She found the energy to walk again.
But the woman’s difficulties haven’t ceased. This summer, she will face a famine.
“It appears that they’re going to have massive crop failures all over Lesotho, which will probably result in 1 to 1.5 million having severe hunger issues in the coming months and over the next year until next year’s crop,” Webb said. “It looks like the corn is going to be a complete failure.”
Webb traveled to Lesotho with Jeff O’Loughlin, a BGR disaster relief and community development coordinator, in March before conducting disaster relief training with Baptist leaders in South Africa. They met up with Flora and spent two days touring farms in the Thaba Tseka Province. Both he and Flora agreed that the situation looked bleak.
“We were way, way, way behind for our rainfall totals—the worst that it’s been in years,” Flora said.
The rain, she said, eventually fell. People had water for their taps again, but the precipitation came too late for the crops. The June harvest would be so meager farmers wouldn’t even have the chance to collect enough seeds for the subsequent year’s planting.
“There’s not going to be anything to harvest,” Teresa said. “Some of the crops aren’t even fit for animal consumption.”
Some nonprofit organizations, she said, planned to conduct needs assessments, but they hadn’t started. However, the locals needed food immediately.
The Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations reported in February that roughly 25 percent of the population was already hungry, and Flora said her husband, Jim, had already made at least one trip to help a family with nothing to eat. This summer, the number of hungry in Lesotho will likely grow.
BGR and the KBC are currently in the planning stages for a food and seed distribution that will cater to underserved people like widows, elderly and orphans—people like Mosa. Webb said the KBC might also send a disaster relief team, as well, to help with distributions. Together, the organizations hope to alleviate some of the hunger needs.
*Name changed. Lily Jameson is a staff writer for Baptist Global Response.