Thursday, February 3, 2011

Disaster Flooding Emergency

Part of the reason for such a large influx of babies into the safe-home in the past couple weeks is that flooding throughout the country has had a devastating affect on rural communities and their access to outside aid, crop production, and overall home stability.


Entire communities have been completely cut off because of destroyed roads, and many international aid organizations are beginning to ramp up emergency response efforts in the country, as more rain is expected.


For some context, I have pasted below information about the flooding in Lesotho from the most recent weekly report on the issue out of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:


In Lesotho, heavy rains have claimed the lives of 30 people and 4,000 livestock. More than 30 houses have collapsed in the affected villages, and almost 50 % of the roads have been destroyed, rendering health centres and schools inaccessible.


The main pump distributing water in Maseru has also been damaged, which has interrupted water supply. At least 500 cases of diarrhea have been reported.


More than 60% of the fields planted with mainly maize, beans, sorghum and potatoes and 40% of garden crops have been destroyed by hailstorms and heavy rains.


Rapid assessments are being conducted throughout the country to inform the government on the immediate interventions to be implemented. The National Red Cross Society is assisting those affected with temporary shelter.


WFP's operations have also been hampered by the heavy rains. A total of 101 out of 429 schools in its school feeding program could not be reached, affecting 13,920 students. Four health centers in Thaba Tseka are inaccessible leaving 1,123 patients (pregnant mothers and children under 2 years) without their food rations. The country office is working on alternative measures to reach these beneficiaries.


Since reading this, I have reached out to the UN OCHA office, offering TTL's assistance in distributing food and/or other resources to the remote communities we serve.


For a country already in need of so much help, I fear an emergency like this is going to be devastating.

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