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China pledges food aid worth M38m


china-lesothoPascalinah Kabi

Mohale’s Hoek

CHINESE Embassy Counsellor Zwang Changwei says his government is commitment to helping Lesotho deal with the dire effects of the El Nino-induced drought which left over 600 000 people food insecure.

Mr Changwei said China had donated food aid worth of 18 million Chinese yuan (about M38 million) which would arrive in the country soon.

He made the remarks during a function this week where the Chinese business community and the embassy donated food parcels to 254 households and eight grocery vouchers to pupils from impoverished families.

The beneficiaries were drawn from eight constituencies in Mohale’s Hoek and the food parcels included maize and wheat meal, fresh milk, sugar, soup, matches, beans, toilet paper and cooking oil.

“This year the Basotho nation experienced a severe drought caused by El Nino in the region. Admirable efforts have been made by the Lesotho government and the people to fight the disaster,” Mr Changwei said.

“China also experiences many natural disasters and therefore Chinese people empathise with the situation here.

“The food aid of 18 million Chinese Yuan from the Chinese government is coming and through the Lesotho government, it will be distributed to needy Basotho households.”

He said the Chinese Embassy supported efforts by the Chinese community in Lesotho to uplift local people’s livelihoods and promote cooperation through donations of food parcels to the needy throughout the country as part of Lesotho’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations.

The Chinese community has already donated food parcels to over 1 000 households in Leribe, Mafeteng, Butha-Buthe, Thaba-Tseka, Berea and Mokhotlong.

“The Chinese community in Lesotho is part of Basotho people, and that is what they are affirming through today’s (Friday) ceremony,” he said.

“They are giving back to the local communities as they are being cared for by their Basotho brothers and sisters. This should continue.”

One of the beneficiaries, 13-year old Tholoana Mathiase said the M1 000 voucher would go a long way in helping her perform better in class.

“I used to go to school on an empty stomach and depended on the free meal that we get at school for lunch. I did not like the morning periods as I could not concentrate because of hunger,” the Mekaling High School learner said.

She said now that the Chinese Business Community had given her a M1 000 shopping voucher to buy groceries of her family’s choice from any Chinese-owned business in the district, she would not go to school on an empty stomach.

For his part, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Phallang Monare said the Chinese government and its people had done a lot for Lesotho.

“For this and many other efforts by the Chinese Embassy and its people, I am making a clarion call to you Basotho to support the Chinese Business Community in all aspects.

“Buy from their shops because this is a give and take process. I am not saying you should not buy from Basotho-owned shops but let us also support them.

“You have seen that Chinese businessmen and women have no security wherever they go, so let us desist from attacking and killing them,” the Taung Constituency Member of Parliament said in apparent reference to the recent killing of a Chinese businessman in the constituency.

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