Relief to the adversely affected by flash floods in Lesotho

Alice and the old man
Thursday, March 2, 2023

It is not a normal day when you leave your house and an hour later your house is sunken in water. This was an experience of more than 11 families at Matukeng in the district of Leribe. One of the affected families almost lost a 20-year-old son to water sipping into the house during the flash-floods.

“It was around 15:30pm when it started raining. I was still in the house just relaxing. This is my aunt’s (Alice Matsoso) house. She invited me to come watch over my 9-year-old nephew, her grandson who lives with her, while she goes to the Republic of South Africa to monitor one of her sickly children,” Liteboho Matsoso explained.

“It had been raining since I arrived here some days ago. Water would trickle down the north facing door and sip under the same door into the house. Simply mopping the floor would clear the water, so I was not worried,” Matsoso added.

Liteboho Matsoso
Liteboho Matsoso


He did not notice that the water level outside the house was rising until it began coming in through the front door. At this point Matsoso started making calls, reporting to his aunt, the owner of the house. “…just during the calls, the water level had gone up to my waist. The furniture wall units began falling and floating, some glass items fell and broke,

The water pressure inside the house held the doors in place. Matsoso could not open nor close them. His only means to exit the house was through the windows and perhaps call for help while outside. The windows were however reinforced against burglars. He could not get out, so he began to panic

I finally managed my way back into the kitchen. Water was around my armpits. The water pressure from outside burst open the door. I wanted to open the burglar door using the key. It had fallen into the water inside the house. I reached for the floor to look for it,

“By the grace of God I was able to find it, then unlocked the burglar door. Only then was able to step outside the house and on the elevated step just outside the door. From there I was able to call for help. Some gentlemen who were driving past saw my desperation,” Mantsoso continues to narrate.

It was these good Samaritans, three men who came to rescue Matsoso from the monstrous floods. “Two of them came swimming while the other, a taller man treaded through the water straight to me, went into the house to pick some of my pieces of clothing, then proceeded to carry me on his back out of the water.”

Upon hearing of the disaster, Alice Matsoso, began making her way back into Lesotho. “Everything is destroyed, from clothes to furniture. Even sleeping I do not know where we are going to end up sleeping tonight looking at the amount of destruction,” Alice said with shock covering her face.

Alice after a long and hard day putting her house in order after the floods


In the recent years, Matukeng is frequented by flash floods. The families which are closer to the main north road, neighbors to Alice are usually affected.

“We have engaged the community members in this place, trying to explore lasting solutions. They indicated their greatest need as enlarging the water outlets by the road to allow for water to pass through with ease, without collecting and retreating back to the houses,

“Some community members said they are ready to move from this place though I do not think it will be easy seeing they do not know where they will go settle. This is especially a challenge for families that have set permanent brick and mortar homes. Those with temporary structures, we do not encourage to set up permanent structures, but to consider relocating,” said Mare Keketsi, District Disaster Management Authority Officer.

The District Disaster Management Team coordinated by the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) responded to meet the survivors’ immediate needs while long terms solutions are being explored. “Basically we go around the country to respond to any emergencies that is related to disasters,” said ‘Malehana Ralepoma, Acting Project Manager to the European Union funded Disaster Risk Reduction project implemented by World Vision Lesotho.

The project depends on the assessments made by DMA in the districts beyond it’s coverage. Whereas in the districts where the project is implemented, they become part of the assessment done by agencies which are members of the District Disaster Management Team.  

Food distribution
The EU funded Disaster Risk Reduction project together with the District Disaster Management Team help the affected families


“The assessment determines what the people’s needs are to survive. We have the non-food items stored in every district at the Food Management Units’ storages. When disasters like this have occurred, we come and relieve the families with mattresses and blankets according to the report specifications,” Ralepoma explained.

The 11 affected families were given mattresses, blankets, maize meals, oil, sugar, paraffin, salt, bathing soap, laundry soap, eggs, towels, tooth pastes, sanitary towels and many more. According to Ralepoma, each of the affected families are entitled to a food basket, amounting to M1,600.00.

“The food basket contains items that amount to M1,600.00. In some cases, the Food Basket is given or the money itself based on the market assessment. The value of this basket and its items are determined by the DMA,” Ralepoma concluded.

World Vision Lesotho’s European funded project contributed to the Food Basket together with the Lesotho Red Cross.

“All the 11 affected families were brought together by the organizations to be given some food items to sustain life. These were World Vision, Red Cross and the DMA. On behalf the families which were assisted with food item, I want to thank those who encouraged that we must be given something to eat,

“May you have more to give to many who will be affected in a similar manner so they do not have to wonder what will become of their lives amidst such grave loss, while also mentioning that any more help even towards housing and accommodation is welcome.,” Alice said after the inter=-agency food distribution to ease the burden on those affected by the flash floods.  

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