Five hundred and ten households whose houses were destroyed by strong winds in August received M772 each during the launch of the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) at Sehlabathebe in the Qacha’sNek district yesterday October 26th, 2021.

According to the Secretary-General of Lesotho Red Cross (LRCS) Mr. Kopano Masilo in his introductory speech, the 510 beneficiaries will receive the M772 for the next four months.

He indicated that in addition to the monthly stipend, 162 households whose houses were completely destroyed by the strong winds will receive M4200 for the rehabilitation of their destroyed livelihood.

Mr. Masilo said about M 460 000 will be used for Qacha’s Nek beneficiaries to rebuild their houses, buy house materials and kitchen utensils, while M186 000 will be used for hygiene kits and toiletries.

The objective of the launch was to electronically send the cash to the beneficiaries at the gathering that was held at Sehlabathebe on October 26th, 2021 before the following dignitaries; President of LRCS Mr. Silas Mosuhli, the District Administrator for Qacha’s Nek district Mr. Mantsi Tseane, Member of the LRCS Board based in Qacha’s Nek Mr. Teboho Magumela, Disaster Management Authority representative Mrs. Mamonyaku Koloti, says Mr. Masilo.

When giving the background of the DREF Project, the Secretary-General of LRCS Mr. Masilo indicated that the M2.4 Million was from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). He indicated the funds are meant for two districts; Qacha’s Nek and Thaba Tseka.

When addressing the people gathered at the launch including the beneficiaries, Mr. Masilo said; “I believe that you have learned from the impact of the past wind storms. Now that you are going to be supported financially to reconstruct your houses, make sure that you do not build the same structure as the ones that collapsed or were washed away by heavy storms,” Masilo emphasized.

Masilo advised the District Disaster Management Authority (DMA) and District Disaster Management Teams (DDMT) to immediately conduct a rapid assessment after a disaster occurs in the future so as to avoid delay in assisting those affected.

                             

Speaking at the same occasion, the President of LRCS Mr. Silas Mosuhli advised beneficiaries to use the money responsibly.

One of the beneficiaries Mr. Sekonyela Leteba indicated that they are thankful to LRCS to have restored their hope. He pleaded with his fellow beneficiaries to make sure that they do not use the money for alcohol but for the reconstruction of their houses.

Apart from this, the Society’s Disaster Management Officer Mr. Maine Makula indicated that they have formed community response committees that are going to see to it that people use grants according to the initial plan. “Some of these people are not even beneficiaries, but they sacrifice their time in assisting you as well as hearing your queries and complaints and then refer them to the relevant offices to be dealt with.

On the other hand, Mrs. Mamonyaku Koloti (DMA Headquarters) explained that no one would give anyone money without having worked for it. “You are blessed and lucky to have received the money. Your house is yours and not for government’s. You have to take responsibility for reconstructing your houses and not buying alcohol with these funds,” she said.

Mrs. Koloti indicated that every time there is a disaster in the country, DMA looks up to the Lesotho Red Cross Society in coming to the forefront during emergencies without hesitation. “The Society has never disappointed us in ensuring that the people affected by disasters are assisted on time. You always come through. Thank you”, she said.

In his closing remarks, the Qacha’s Nek District Administrator Mr. Mantsi Ts’eane indicated that the beneficiaries are lucky to have received money from people who do not even know them. He pleaded with the beneficiaries that they should use the money according to its initial plan. He advised men to give money to their wives because they are good at budgeting, and that they will use the money as wisely and as planned.

“I am scared that you men will be tempted to buy agricultural equipment such as farm tools and not rebuild the houses” he concluded.

The once-off multipurpose cash grants (Cash for temporary shelter materials), is aimed at buying the following; rebuilding the destroyed houses, matrasses, blankets, and hygiene kits and bedding, kitchen sets.

The strong winds ravaged Sehlabathebe, Thaba  Tseka, and other surrounding areas from August 26th to 30th, 2021.

These are 510 households that were affected by heavy winds between 26th and 30th August 2021.  Therefore, the Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) Society sourced funds to respond to the affected families in order to restore their hope.