M79m for drought relief
GOVERNMENT has set aside M79 million to ensure communities reeling from lack of clean water are supplied with the precious liquid.
A total of 260 307 Basotho from 281 villages across the country have no access to clean water due to the prevailing drought which government says is Lesotho’s worst in four decades.
Addressing Ha Motloheloa villagers this week, the Ministry of Water Chief Information Officer, Maieane Khaketla, said at least 400 tanks are needed to supply affected communities with water. Part of the M79million would be used to purchase the bowsers, he added.
“As we speak, cabinet is meeting and discussing this issue of lack of water,” Mr Khaketla said.
“For the ministry to supply clean water to all the affected areas throughout the country, we need M79 million and part of this money is going to buy 400 tanks. These tanks are going to be used to transport the water to the affected communities.
“It is government’s responsibility to supply its people with basic amenities, hence this initiative to take water to all the people who are going to need it as the country faces this projected severe drought.”
Mr Khaketla also pleaded with members of the public with water tanks in their backyards to allow government to fill them with water for the benefit of their neighbours.
“We need to help each other in this dire situation; let us be good neighbours. The government knows what you are going through, but please be patient with us as we are doing everything possible to make sure you access clean water,” Mr Khaketla said.
“This is not going to be a cheap exercise. Our ministry has already borrowed 40 tanks from Local Government to transport water to needy communities throughout the country. This severe drought is actually a state of emergency and we need to act decisively; we need each other.”
Mr Khaketla also revealed areas such as Mokhotlong and Butha-buthe have since been hit by disease outbreaks, mostly diarrhea, due to lack of clean water.
Speaking at the same gathering, an official from the ministry’s Rural Water Supply division, Fusi Lifoloane said government was trying to find a lasting solution to the water crisis.
“Only a few villages still have access to clean water and to show how severe this drought is, even the wetlands are drying out,” Mr Lifoloane said.
“Let us set aside our political differences and concentrate on finding solutions to our current water problems.”
Ministry OF WATER CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER MAIEANE KHAKETLA