STANDARD Lesotho Bank (SLB) has donated groceries worth M10 000 to 70 families whose houses were damaged by a storm in Lihlokong village in Mafeteng district.
The Lihlokong community was left stranded and without roofs over their heads last week when a storm swept through the village, damaging property and injuring both people and animals. The storm also destroyed power lines and water pipes, leaving the villagers without electricity, water and functional lavatories.
Most of the stranded families now live in makeshift tents donated by the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) with blankets and mattresses donated by World Vision.
The village’s Chief, Maphoka Matete, said several people and animals were harmed during the storm, notably a child who has since been admitted to Mafeteng hospital.
“A little girl was admitted to Mafeteng hospital after a roof collapsed on her head while she was inside her home and one man has also been referred to Tsepong hospital in Maseru with serious injuries to his arm,” Chief Matate said.
“Some animals had to be slaughtered prematurely because they had also sustained serious injuries.
“When the sun sets, our hearts sink because we remember that we no longer have homes to sleep in but these tents which have been kindly lent to us.
“We therefore appeal to well-wishers to help us rebuild our houses. Even though we know it is not possible to fully replace what we lost, all we ask for is assistance to ensure that every family is able to build at least a two-roomed house.”
SLB Head of Marketing Makeabetsoe Mabaleha said the food aid was a short-term response which they thought was essential to the affected people’s needs while the bank sought for a long-term solution.
“SLB has made the food donation so that nobody goes to bed on an empty stomach,” Ms Mabaleha said.
“We thought of the children who still have to go to school daily under these circumstances and do not deserve to get into their classes hungry.
“Our hearts go out to everyone here today because you are our valued customers. At SLB we value lives because we also come from such humble backgrounds and this little we have brought today is our way of giving back.”
“Do not hesitate to come knocking on our doors when you need anything else,” she said, adding that the bank’s partnership with the villagers would not end there.
“From here SLB will further knock on more doors to find organisations who will assist in the re-building of your houses,” said Ms Mabaleha.
On behalf of the Lihlokong community, Mokhobi Thupeng said the greatest challenge facing the villagers was rebuilding their houses.
“I built my house when I was still young and working in the mines, but I am now an old man who makes a living from farming,” said Mr Thupeng.
“We work in the fields just to put something on the table to eat but do not have money to build houses, because they require a lot of money.”
Meanwhile, a Local Government representative from the Mamantso Community Council, Tau Matlakala, said counselling sessions are being conducted for some members of the Lihlokong community who are yet to come to terms with the disaster.