Lesotho faces famine linked to climate change


KPFA Evening News, 09.30.2012

Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Motsoahae Thabane addressed the UN General Assembly on crop failure and famine now threatening one third of Lesotho's two million citizens, and called for real arms control commitments by the world's militarily powerful nations.





KPFA Evening News Anchor Anthony Fest:  Turning now to news of Africa, on Friday the United Nations World Food Program reported that Lesotho, a small nation of two million, is in desperate need of food aid, following crop failures caused  by weather extremes linked to climate change. The production of Lesotho's staple, corn, was down 77% compared to the previous year, its wheat harvest down 52%. KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story. 
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Lesotho is a small African nation of two million people contained within the boundaries of South Africa. The UN World Food Programme is now calling for $38 million in emergency food aid and long term sustainability efforts to help hundreds of thousands of its citizens survive crop failures caused by both floods and drought linked to climate change. On Thursday, Lesotho's Prime Minister, Thomas ​Motsoahae Thabane, appealed to the General Assembly for help:  
Prime Minister Thomas Thabane: In my country drought and floods have heightened food insecurity and famine is looming. In August this year my government has had to declare that Lesotho is in a situation of food crisis and call on its development partners to assist. This followed a severe drought that afflicted Lesotho in the last planting season. I'm humbled to repeat the call for help before this august body.

A Lesotho farmer pounds corn into meal. The country's harvest of corn, its food staple, is down 70% due to crop failure linked to climate change.

KPFA: Prime Minister Thabane expressed regret that the developing nations had not made a greater commitment, earlier this year, to help developing nations who are now suffering the worst effects of climate change.
Prime Minister Thomas Thabane: We went to Rio in June this year with a determination to adopt ambitious and measurable steps to address sustainable development. Regrettable, Rio Plus 20 did not meet everyone's expectations. Lack of concrete commitment by the developed countries to provide developing countries with finance and technology is a source of concern. Nevertheless there is still hope that a sustainable future is within reach.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Thabane, who spoke immediately after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also appealed to the developed countries to make real commitments to sustainable peace 

Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Motsoahae Thabane

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane: The development and possession of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction remains a serious concern for the peace and security of mankind.  Some states possess these weapons in large quantities and have not remained faithful to their commitment under the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty. These states often threaten to humiliate non-nuclear weapons states. That is why other countries aspire to acquire nuclear weapons. 
In the same way, for as long as international trade in small arms, light weapons, and other conventional weapons remains unregulated, peace will continue to elude us. The failure of the international community to conclude a robust, legally binding arms trade treaty, less than three months ago, has left an indelible mark on our generation.  Conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons, are the real weapons of mass destruction in Africa. 
KPFA/Ann Garrison: That was Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas ​Motsoahae Thabane addressing the UN General Assembly on Thursday. 
For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison. 

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