Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has declared a six-month state of emergency after the recent heavy rains massively damaged farms, roads and bridges.
Dr Majoro said the state of emergency would enable the country to mobilise resources to repair the damaged infrastructure whose estimated cost is M100 million.
In a televised address to the nation this week, Dr Majoro said the country had experienced above normal rainfall in the past two months which had damaged roads, bridges and farms in all the country’s 10 districts.
“Fellow countrymen and our development partners, in the last two months the country has received above normal rainfall,” Dr Majoro said.
“The heavy rains have caused loss of lives, damage and destruction to property, infrastructure and the environment. In addition, the heavy rains have caused landslides, which have destroyed houses and blocked roads and pathways,” he said.
“Heavy rainfall in Lesotho seldom destroys water sources, infrastructure, agricultural production, food security and the environment. Indeed, the damage attests to the changing climate conditions to which Basotho, like all other nations, must adapt.”
Dr Majoro said coming on the back of the debilitating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the rain-induced infrastructural damage had added to the entire country’s woes and necessitated the declaration of a state of emergency.
“Through the powers vested in me as per the Disaster Management Act of 1997, I declare a state of emergency for a period of six months from today on account of heavy rainfall throughout the country.
“We preliminarily estimate that the cost of this rehabilitation programme will be somewhere between M70 million and M100 million maloti.”
“We therefore call upon our development partners to assist in our efforts to address the situation. The government has already mobilised its resources to address this situation. To this end, the government established a dedicated ministerial committee and reassigned at least 5000 employees (from various government ministries and departments) to assist in the rehabilitation effort.
“The government is also 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. Equally important will be technical and logistical support to ensure that adequate basic needs reach the affected areas and communities expeditiously,” Dr Majoro said.