Parts of Qacha’s Nek town and nearby villages in Lesotho were hit by strong winds coupled with a hailstorm on Monday, 10 December 2012. Following a rapid assessment conducted by the members of District Disaster Management Team, it was observed that approximately 130 households (650 beneficiaries) were in need of food and temporary shelter.
Matsepo Moletsane, Program Director of the Lesotho Red Cross Society, sent an email to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) asking for help. She stated that she was “overwhelmed and that any form of assistance would be highly appreciated.” In July, 2012, the Church was informed of a similar storm that hit the Berea area of Lesotho in which they acted quickly to come to their aid. Humanitarian Aid Missionaries for the Church again responded to provide relief to the victims of the December storm.
Sixty-one houses were completely demolished and in some villages livestock was killed. Five people sustained serious injury and were admitted to the hospital while thirteen others were treated as out-patients. Two children were killed when the walls of their home collapsed, and one boy was washed away by the overflowing river when he tried to cross. Electrical and communication lifelines were destroyed, big trees were uprooted, and at some places tar was removed from the tarred roads. Most of the displaced families found temporary shelter at their neighbours or relatives, and at the community hall.
Elder Monty Eggett, Humanitarian Aid Missionary from Johannesburg for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with Elder and Sister DaBell, arrived in Maseru, Lesotho, on Tuesday, 18 December to purchase hygiene supplies for 200 families and 427 blankets. The supply of blankets was limited as the factories are not making blankets until it is closer to the winter season, so every blanket was purchased that could be found in the major stores in Maseru. The Elders (full-time missionaries for the Church stationed in Lesotho) spent the morning assembling the hygiene kits and joined with the Humanitarian Missionaries to distribute them. It required three bakkies to deliver the supplies to the area. The first village was Hotjobe, then on to Mphunyetsane. The road was very rough. Hotjobe is the location of the home destroyed in which two children, ages 3 and 5, died.
A few days later, Elder Eggett joined the Red Cross, travelling almost six hours, to Qacha’s Nek where more than 100 homes were levelled or severely damaged by the winds and rain. A large lorry containing tents, tarps, and blankets travelled to the area as well. Each family was identified and the distribution took place. Other areas affected will be visited and supplied with blankets and hygiene kits.
The Church has formed a strong and lasting relationship with the Lesotho Red Cross Society and the Disaster Management Authority (DMA), and hopes to continue this partnership in helping the people of Lesotho.