LRCS launches M2.4m relief fund


Targets households destroyed by winds in Qacha’s Nek and Thaba-Tseka



MASERU – Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) has come to the rescue of 510 families in Qacha’s Nek and Thaba-Tseka through the launch of a M2.4 million Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to assist the households affected by strong winds in August this year.

The launch took place at Sehlabathebe, in the Qacha’s Nek district, on October 26. Speaking at the event, one of the victims ’Maboitumelo Mafatlane recounted the day her home was blown away by the strong winds, leaving her and the family homeless.

She said though the wind was very strong, she still did not think it would cause the kind of damage it caused. Mafatlane said her life changed since this day that their homes were blown off since her family has had to live with relatives and neighbours.

“We have come to learn to live with this situation until we are able to return to our normal lives.” On behalf of other beneficiaries, Mafatlane thanked the LRCS for their support, noting that this assistance comes at the right time when needed most.

She also assured the donors that they will buy and use the money appropriately for things as intended. Out of the 510 households affected by the disaster 348 households received M772, which is their first grant of the two-month cash transfer using Mpesa and Ecocash.

The funds are meant to buy dignity kits, especially for girls and women while the men will be expected to buy toiletries only. In addition, 162 households whose houses were totally destroyed each received a once-off multipurpose grant to the tune of M4 200 on the same day of the launch using the same local mobile networks.

LRCS Secretary General, Kopano Masilo, said the once-off multipurpose cash grants are for temporary shelter material, and is also aimed at buying and rebuilding the destroyed houses, matrasses, blankets, and hygiene kits, including bedding and kitchen sets. He appealed to the beneficiaries to use the money for the intended purposes rather than social purposes.

Up to 510 households were affected by heavy wind storms between August 26 and 30, while 162 households were totally destroyed and their inhabitants were accommodated by neighbours and relatives. Another 348 households had their houses partially destroyed.

The area Chief of Sehlabathebe, Chief ’Matheko Makhaola, said at the same event that the wind damaged a lot of property and posed life-threatening danger to people and their animals, among other things.

She also indicated that the storms left most of the affected people homeless. While winds are frequent and usually benign, she said the effects of the windstorms have the potential to harm people and destroy their properties, either on their own or in conjunction with other weather conditions.

The society’s rapid assessment team discovered that there are a number of houses that were blown away by strong winds, leaving scores of people totally homeless. As the assessment continued among the 10 districts in the country, Qacha’s Nek was mostly hard hit, with a total of 510 families affected.

The society received support of about M2.4 million from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) through the Disaster Relieve Emergency Fund (DREF) to assist the affected households of Thaba-Tseka and Qacha’s Nek.

The society also provided the victims with mental health and psychosocial support to soothe their stressed minds and broken hearts, and for improving their well-being and to help them cope during and after the crisis.

The main priorities identified by LRCS during assessment were; emergency shelter, food and nutrition, bedding and hygiene materials for the 162 families who lived in completely damaged houses. Their food and non-food items were destroyed while clothes were swept away.

The first immediate response was made on September 2 where people received food items, blankets and mattresses.

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