Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro has declared a state of emergency with six months on the account of heavy rainfalls.
Majoro addressed the nation this week and emphasised that the hefty rains which wreaked havoc and mayhem were aggravated by the cyclone Eloise which hit most of the neighbouring Southern African countries and the changing climate conditions.
With the effects of heavy rains injuring the infrastructure and contributing to the destruction of property, the Premier made a clarion call to the development partners to help in the efforts to ameliorate the situation.
“As you may be aware, Lesotho is once again experiencing heavy rainfall similar to that of 2011. The Lesotho Meteorological Services informed the nation that normal to above normal rainfall was expected from January to March 2021. This situation has further been exacerbated by cyclone “Eloise” which affected neighbouring countries, bringing heavy rains into the country,” Majoro said.
“Heavy rainfall in Lesotho, however seldom, causes havoc to water sources, infrastructure, and agriculture production, food security and the environment. Indeed, these attests to the changing climate conditions to which Basotho, like all nations, must adapt.
“In the last two months the country has received above normal rainfall. The heavy rains have caused loss of lives, damage and destruction to property, infrastructure and environment. In addition, the heavy rains have caused landslides, which have destroyed houses and blocked roads and pathways. The rains also eroded croplands and destroyed graveyards. The destruction of road infrastructure including bridges is leaving most of our people stranded and unable to access essential services,” he said.
“This damage, which has affected the entire country and coming on top of the Covid-19 pandemic necessitates that Government declare a State of Emergency. We therefore call upon our Development Partners to assist in our efforts to redress the situation.
“The government has already mobilized its resources to address this situation including the establishment of a dedicated ministerial committee, instructing all the Disaster Management structures to mobilise, redeploy all Local Government yellow plant to the affected areas, and re-directing at least 5, 000 employees to assist in the rehabilitation effort. We are thankful that communities on their own are also joining to undertake repairs in their own areas.
“Therefore, the government is making a clarion call to its Development Partners and friends to assist the country in undertaking the emergency response and post-disaster recovery efforts inclusive of reconstruction and rehabilitation,” he said.
Majoro continued that, “Equally important will be technical and logistical support to ensure that adequate basic needs reach the affected areas and communities expeditiously. We preliminary estimate that the cost of this rehabilitation program will be somewhere between M70 million and M100 million. With time these estimates may escalate. “Through the power vested in me as per the Disaster Management Act of 1997, section 3, subsection 1 and 2, I declare a State of Emergency on account of Heavy Rainfall throughout the country for a period of six (6) months from today,” he said.