By Sma Phethoka
“At least 10,000 ultra-poor beneficiaries will benefit from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) for three months starting from April.
Mr. Kopano Masilo, the Secretary General of Lesotho Red Cross Society indicated that the Society targeted the ultra-poor households that do not get any social assistance, people with disabilities, as well as child-headed families.
According to the Mr Masilo, the beneficiaries came from 2005 households living in the districts of Butha Buthe, Mokhotlong and Thaba Tseka.
“This means M1.6 Million will be distributed to the beneficiaries per month for 3 months in a form of cash and this means a total of M10 Million”, the Secretary General informed the Media during the launch of DREF that was held at the Society’s premises on March 31st, 2020.
He indicated the money will be transferred to individual beneficiaries through cash transfer using local mobile networks. “we are adhering to the call of WHO about Social Distancing hence we don’t want people to gather in one place”, he added.
He urged the local business community that will be supplying the beneficiaries with the food items to continue with their current pricing and not to hike them.
When officially opening the launch, LRCS President Silas Mosuhli indicated that since the deadly COVID 19 has been declared a pandemic; affecting the whole world, he urged people to abide by both by the Ministry of Health as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) safety precautions against COVID 19.
Mosuhli further stated that now that LRCS has done cash transfer to the beneficiaries through mobile networks; the beneficiaries will not have to travel long distances to cash out nor purchase food; instead, they will do all these in their respective villages.
The 2005 households were identified from the following councils: Butha Buthe – Nqoe and Ngoajane community councils, Mokhotlong; – Menoaneng and Sanqebethu councils as well as Thaba-Tseba – Khutlo se metsi and Litsoetse councils.
Each beneficiary will receive M151.00 per month for three months. The money is meant to close the food gap that had been created by adverse drought in 2019/2020 planting season. The average number of family members per household is Five and that means each will receive the stipulated money.
The total amount of M 736 058.00 was injected in both Butha-Buthe and Mokhotlong, while M 594 000.00 was transferred to Thaba-Tseka in the same week.
Butha Buthe has registered 555 households equaling 2775 beneficiaries, Mokhotlong 660 households and 3300 beneficiaries and 790 for Thaba Tseka with 3950 beneficiaries
The Press was also informed that the Society made an Appeal amounting to thirty Million (M30 000.000 to assist 4600 households after DREF. It is of good value to pinpoint that the relief will last for six Months whereby the first three months will be for unconditional cash transfer while the second round will be inclusive of both cash and seeds for the next planting season.
In all these districts, the DREF team held meetings with District Administrators (DA) with the purpose of introducing the project to them, so that in case they need assistance; they find doors open to them. The first processes of the project were made successful through the collaboration and oneness between the DREF team as well as the Districts Disaster Management Teams (DDMTs)