17/01/2022

Disaster Management Department

Lesotho has experienced heavy rains that covered the whole country from Mid November 2021 to the date January 2022. The rains according to the Lesotho Meteorological Services are categorized as normal to above normal and many weather stations presented higher readings. The situation is currently/has resulted in widespread damage throughout the country with the worst affected sectors being Agriculture, Roads, Water and Sanitation and Health.

Preliminary reports from the various formal and informal sources indicated serious damages on road infrastructure resulting in many communities being cut off from essential services such as hospitals and schools; destruction of planted crops, disruption of field operations; environmental health, and the possibility of an outbreak of locust, waterborne diseases as well as drowning.

Crop

The current heavy rain which started early and intensified Mid November 2021 has negatively affected crop production, much as it rained at peak of planting season the intervals of rainy periods did not provide enough time for land preparations eg Ploughing, and planting for most of the farmers. While other already planted crops were at their early stage of emergence, thus depletion of nutrients due to residual moisture.

The following are the ultimate results and/or impacts that are already being realized while some will be apparent in the coming months.

  • Most of the fields throughout the country are waterlogged while in some fields the plants are still submerged in water.  The result of this situation is the loss of soil fertility through leaching and hence reduction in crop productivity.
  • There is poor germination of the seeds which were planted during this period because the seeds have been submerged in the soil for a long time and some have rotted.
  • Due to extended rainy days, most farmers have not been able to weed; hence most of the crops are already turning yellow. Since the weeds are already at the flowering stage the use of post-emergence herbicides will not be effective. The only alternative is manual weeding which is also challenged by the fact that the crops are lodging.
  • It is anticipated that due to these continuous wet days the outbreak of plant diseases will be very high. There are already reports of blight in potatoes and this is expected to expand to beans.
  • There are also reports on moles that browse on the newly emerged beans. The situation is expanded by the fact that the soil is wet hence the ease for the moles to dig through the soil.

 

Infrastructure Roads:

The majority of the roads and culverts have been terribly damaged. The net connection between some districts and community to community is a challenge. This is not only between communities but also people reaching out to health facilities and schools.  While most of the roads are partially damaged and usable, major attention needs to be paid for some are partially cut and rocks blocked part of the roads.\

 Rapid assessment is to be launched to establish the magnitude of destruction throughout the country.

Water and Sanitation:

The community, family, schools, and health centers latrines are getting to be destroyed by the current and prevailing rainfalls. Protected springs are destroyed by the heavy rains while other unprotected springs are also destroyed and seriously contaminated. This is likely to result in an outbreak of waterborne diseases. The situation will further be exacerbated by the fact of open defecation. Case of people drowning in water especially rivers and local dams are reported in various locations.

Rapid assessment is to be launched to establish the magnitude of destruction throughout the country.

Health and Nutrition Sector

Most villages have no toilets and protected water systems hence the possibility of outbreaks of water-borne diseases.

Rapid assessment is to be launched to establish the magnitude of destruction throughout the country.