Govt, partners prepare for natural disasters


By Neo Kolane

The government will soon begin preparations for the coming season to ensure that livelihoods are not harshly affected by the anticipated dry conditions.

The Lesotho Meteorological Services forecasted that there is a high probability of drought due to the El Nino from October to December 2023.

The minister in the prime minister’s office, Limpho Tau, on Tuesday said it was the government’s responsibility to deal with natural disasters at all levels countrywide.


He was addressing a high-level roundtable discussion on humanitarian advocacy, and disaster risk reduction and management in Maseru.

The meeting offered stakeholders an opportunity to come up with sustainable contributions towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13, which calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

It also sought ways to strengthen national and community capacities for effective disaster preparedness and crisis response.

 “It is one of our responsibilities as government to invest in disaster risk reduction for resilience and we are working on this,” Tau said.

This was in line with the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Bill 202o, which calls for prevention, protection and mitigation of natural disasters at all levels.

“We’re still working on this Bill and I believe this is the right platform to share your views on it in preparation for its enactment towards improving service delivery in different sectors.”

Tau also noted that Lesotho had a number of laws, policies and strategies to domesticate regional and international treaties that the country has ratified such as the 2030 Agenda and African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children signed in 1990.

He further hailed the European Commission Humanitarian Aid for its financial support to World Vision International Lesotho for its programmes.

“The partnership between these two entities played a vital role in assisting the government to provide emergency assistance and relief to survivors of natural disasters in the country,” he said.

Tau added that the government had achieved some milestones reached since 2018 such as enhancing capacity and empowerment of various disaster-oriented institutions and community-based structures in targeted project areas.

Significant progress had also been made in promoting advocacy approaches at grassroots level by giving citizens a voice on disaster risk reduction issues, he said.

Speaking at the same occasion, the national director of World Vision International Lesotho (WVIL), James Nkemba Chifwelu, said it was a great privilege to partner with the government and other non-governmental organisations in efforts to strengthen national and community capacities for effective disaster preparedness.

Chifwelu said the meeting provided an opportunity for the government and its partners to collaborate with communities from hard-to-reach areas in Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka and Leribe to chart a way forward on sustainable strategies and approaches. 

Such efforts would ensure that the government reaches its targets on the Lesotho National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2030, he added.

In Lesotho, World Vision has been operational since 1987 partnering with children, families and their communities to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice through its integrated programmes implemented in 14 area programmes in eight districts of the country.

The southern part of Africa, including Lesotho, normally becomes dry during El Nino especially during the peak rainfall season between November and March. Lesotho was severely affected by an El Niño-induced drought in 2015/16, which left more than 60 percent of the rural population at risk of food insecurity.

Following the announcement of the government appeal in January 2016, Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) and partners managed to mobilise more than USD 40 million for the relief response. The priorities included the early recovery and resilience dimensions of the response.

The country is currently seeing out the La Nina phenomenon which, as opposed to El Nino, is characterised by heavy rainfalls and floods.

Like past episodes, the La Niña has put some countries in Southern Africa, including Lesotho at high risk of incurring agricultural losses and seeing food insecurity conditions worsen.