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M3 million for disaster relief in Quthing

Mohalenyane Phakela

THE government has set aside M3 million towards the disaster relief efforts in the wake of the 14 March 2018 hailstorm which hit  Mount Moorosi village, 40 kilometres north of Quthing town.

The storm claimed the lives of five people and left a huge trail of destruction in its wake.

Her Majesty, Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso, was recently joined by the government, the Chinese community in Lesotho and other organisations in coming to the assistance of flood victims in  Mount Moorosi in Quthing through various kind of donations.

Other organisations that responded to the urgent pleas for assistance were the Lesotho Post bank, Vodacom Lesotho and the Red Cross after

Four died when a truck was swept away by the resultant floods while one person died after being struck by lightning on 14 March this year.

The local community gathered in large numbers at Leshoboro Primary School to receive donations from Her Majesty who was joined by a high powered delegation which included Communications Minister, Chief Thesele Maseribane, Leshoboro Mohlajoa (Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office), Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, Sun Xianghua as well as representatives of the Disaster Management Authority, Red Cross, Vodacom Lesotho and Lesotho Post Bank.

The Queen’s National Trust Fund pledged M50 000 while M170 000 came from the Chinese community in Lesotho which includes the Chinese embassy, the Chinese Overseas Chamber of Commerce and China-Lesotho People to People Action Fund.

They also donated 50 blankets.

The Lesotho Post bank pledged M50 000 and also promised to rebuild some of the affected schools while Vodacom Lesotho pledged to rebuild Tipi Primary School as well as a house for a family of five children who currently reside in a tent after their house was destroyed by the storm.

Speaking during the recent visit to Mount Moorosi, the Her Majesty implored the local and international community to pray for the victims.

“I felt very weak when I got here due to the devastating view (of the tragedy) hence the first thing I asked for was a prayer mass,” Her Majesty said.

“People of Quthing, you should know that you are not alone. We felt your pain and as a Christian community, let us stand together and pray to the almighty as the same God who was here yesterday, here today and will still be here tomorrow will help us overcome all.

“God will strengthen you and as you can see help is already flowing in and more is yet to come. Sadly, lives were lost but we thank Him (God) for the lives He saved. The Queen’s National Trust is focused on education so when we learned of the schools affected by the storm, we pledged M50 000 to help. Hlokomela Bana (another Queen’s charity initiative for children) was also here to assess the damage and will be back soon with help.”

Her Majesty also said Red Cross tins had been placed at various retail outlets where people can donate.

The Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, Sun Xianghua, said that they considered themselves as part of Basotho community hence they will always respond to any crisis.

“It is with a heavy heart that we gather here to recall the incidents of the unpreceded hail storm which caused havoc. The disaster hit us very hard and we quickly sat down with Ntate Maseribane to study the damage and ways we could help.

“The embassy together with Chinese Overseas Chamber of Commerce raised M170 000 which will be divided among the victims.

“There is a Chinese saying which states ‘Disaster has no mercy but humans do’, which means when a disaster strikes we should gather to help. No country is an exemption and we Chinese also know how it feels to be in distress.”

Dr Xianghua said of the M170 000 donation each of the five families who lost relatives would get M3 000, the five schools would each get M15 000, 15 affected taxi owners would each get M800 while the 50 households whose houses were destroyed would each receive M600 and a Se-a-na-marena blanket.

Vodacom Lesotho and Lesotho Post Bank also assured the villagers of their assistance, saying the two companies prospered on the back of the support they received from the public including the villagers.

For his part, Chief Maseribane said that the government had set aside M3 million to respond to the disaster. He also thanked Dr Xianghua and his team for the rapid response.

“As a resident of this area, I am part of the people who are still shocked by the disaster but then we believe that through God’s mercy we will survive.

“Unfortunately this happened when the Prime Minister (Thomas Thabane) is not in the country.  However, he is very touched and his office has set aside M3 million to address this havoc. This has also affected other parts of Quthing including Senqondo, Teele and we will soon reveal how the funds will be used,” he said.

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