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By Matṧeliso Phulane
The Disaster Management Authority (DMA) has revealed that it has received confirmation that three districts have been hard hit by harsh weather conditions since the beginning of the summer season.
This comes after the Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) in September projected that the country is expected to receive heavy winds and rainfalls followed by thunderstorms, flash floods and snowfall for the year 2022/2023.
That emerged from the then minister of energy and meteorology Mohapi Mohapinyane when giving a seasonal climate outlook for October 2022 to March 2023. The new projections were revealed with the aim of updating farmers to prepare for summer cropping.
Mohapinyane had warned the public that in this year’s summer, the La-Nina phenomenon is expected to strike Lesotho, causing frequent rainfalls.
Adding to that, Mohapinyane said the country is expected to receive normal to above normal rains for the period of October 2022 to March 2023.
Speaking at a press conference which was held at DMA premises in Maseru this week, the acting DMA chief executive officer ‘Makhotso Mahosi, confirmed that in the districts of Berea, Maseru and Mafeteng heavy rainfall and strong wind affected families, blowing away houses and some people lost their lives.
“There has been15 houses blown away by wind and 10 families are in serious danger in Maseru district.
“In Berea, there are about 80 families affected, while in Mafeteng there is no exact number confirmed. As a result, DMA in such districts is already taking initiatives to assist such families with roofing, food and other basic needs,” she stressed.
Mahosi therefore advised people to stop crossing over flowing rivers or dongas when it rains.
“In places where there are houses build near the rocks people are advised to build walls to prevent rocks from sliding to the houses.
Apart from that people should alert the DMA office near them if electrical and telephone poles fell due to harsh weather conditions to avoid possible danger.
To the farmers, Mahosi advised that they should make furrows that will allow water to flow alongside, adding her office is already working with the local government and other government ministries to ensure their responsibility of allocating lands to the people who build houses in dangerous places.
“As DMA, we are going to work with the government in ensuring that serious actions are taken to people who still locate themselves in places which are dangerous to their lives.
“Those who are already located on such place will be relocated even though there is a huge problem of limited funds to carry out the initiatives. There is already DMA Act but it has never been implemented until now,” Mahosi said.
DMA was established to mount a timely, consistent effective and coordinated response to save lives, properties and livelihoods to prevent and manage disasters countrywide.