510 houses destroyed by windstorms: Red Cross

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Staff Reporter

HEAVY windstorms which occurred during the last week of August 2021 destroyed 510 homes and other properties affecting 2550 people, a report by the Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) and the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) has revealed.

The report said Qacha’s Nek and Thaba Tseka were the most affected districts. Five hundred and ten houses were damaged by the windstorms, the report said.

Of the 510 houses 162 were now desolate, leaving the inhabitants homeless with many moving in with their neighbours while the other 348 families whose houses were partially destroyed were still living in their houses.

With the displaced families now staying with their neighbours or extended families, there was now a risk of spreading Covid-19 hence the immediate need to address their accommodation needs, the report said.

“Overcrowding could worsen the Covid-19 situation if not addressed promptly,” part of the report reads.

“Therefore, emergency shelter is urgently needed to decongest homes.”

With a total of 81 toilets destroyed by the wind storm, the LRCS said there were fears of an outbreak of water-borne diseases as lack of proper sanitation leads to poor hygiene. Therefore, the government must help erect toilets since the LRCS has “limited capacity”.

“LRCS will not be covering any needs with latrine repairs because of limited capacity but will rather conduct advocacy towards government and water and hygiene authorities to complement the response in this area. There is a need for hygiene awareness to prevent disease outbreak,” notes the report.

The dire situation in some of the affected districts was likely to lead to a rise in societal ills as many had lost their sources of livelihoods, the report warned.

“Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and other crimes may increase if people continue sleeping in unsecure and uncovered structures.

“To avert further deterioration of the shelter situation of affected families, immediate support for the families to repair and return to their homes is the best, considering the country is just entering the rainy season and more windstorms are predicted by weather hydro meteorological units.”

Other than shelter problems, the report said that there was a dire need for basic supplies since the families lost their belongings in the wind storms. These include food, domestic supplies, mattresses, and blankets among others.

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