MASERU – The Disaster Management Authority (DMA), on behalf of the government, has set aside M4.5 million to construct new homes and repair the ones that were destroyed by strong storms last month. “We still need more money to help all those affected,” the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Limpho Tau, has said. He spoke in Rothe, on the outskirts of Maseru, on Wednesday this week during the sod-turning ceremony for the construction of new homes and the renovation of the ones destroyed by flooding.
Tau said since 2012, the government had not assisted any families impacted by natural disasters, according to their records. He noted that for now, they will only help those who have recently been affected but, depending on financial resources, they hope to assist everyone impacted. According to the minister, assistance would be provided to those in need based on the extent of the damage done to their homes and their vulnerabilities.
Last month, at least 12 homes in Rothe were destroyed by heavy rains, leaving some residents without roofs over their heads. Affected communities were left without a place to live in, as some homes were completely destroyed while others were partially damaged. According to Tau, three houses in the area will be built with assistance from the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).
He said local builders in the area would construct the remaining homes with funding provided by the government. He pleaded, “Please do not charge outrageous prices when you perform this work.”
Renovations will be made to a total of 75 homes in the Maseru district, 65 in Mafeteng, and 13 in Thaba-Tseka.In order to help those impacted, Tau said the project would be expanded to other districts. Lesotho, like other nations, is affected by climate change, which brings about extreme droughts, storms, and flooding, according to Prime Minister Sam Matekane.
“This has really challenged the government,” he said. He said they had come to Rothe because they were seriously concerned about what happened in the area. “Each family would have a two-roomed house built for them,” Matekane promised. But he explained that the government would not be able to readily help all those who were affected because of limited resources.
“We are going to assist the most affected,” he said, adding that others would be aided later, when the government is on its two feet. Before the next round of severe rains, he asked the contractors to expedite the building process.
According to him, it makes sense to construct homes that can resist extreme weather, such as torrential downpours and powerful storms. Due to climate change, December may see snowfall as well as strong storms and torrential rains.
One of the affected residents, Mpho Pesa, 65, described his ordeal, stating that at approximately 3 p.m. on that day, while he was preparing to feed his children, powerful winds blew his home away. “It was like a dream,” he said. “In no time, there was nothing on top of all my two houses,” he added.
According to Pesa, his little child narrowly escaped death when a stone fell from the roof and struck her in the head. He said that the intense rains had seriously ruined most of his possessions.
The clothes and other items in his home were in disarray, he said. Unfortunately, neither Pesa nor his wife are employed, so they have no means with which to reconstruct their houses.
’Mathuso Nchele, 64, a widow who lives in Rothe, is another affected resident who stated she was not home when the tragedy occurred. “I was away doing some piecework to put bread on the table for the children,” she said. Nchele said she learned from her children that their home had been destroyed. According to Nchele, a good Samaritan gave her a something to serve as a roof over her home.