M79m for drought re­lief

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

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

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