Jan. 30, 2021


2 min read

Landslides pose a new threat to Basotho

Landslides pose a new threat to Basotho

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LESOTHO has had its fair share of natural disasters since time immemorial and they have come in various forms. Every now and again, we experience heavy snowfalls in winter, which cause insurmountable damage to properties, including homes, businesses, livestock and lives to mention a few.

Our summers are notorious for their long and scorching days coupled with severe droughts that have over the years wreaked havoc on our already stumbling economy largely supported by the agriculture sector, which is also in shambles.

Unless the country keeps getting handouts from its development partners, there is no hope of Lesotho ever returning to its former glory when it was known to feed its now better fed and stocked brothers in the region.

So the recent emergence on our shores of a little known disaster called landslide only spells more trouble for the ill-prepared Disaster Management Authority (DMA).

Landslides are caused by disturbances in the natural stability of a slope. They can accompany heavy rains or follow droughts, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions. Mudslides develop when water rapidly accumulates in the ground and results in a surge of water-saturated rock, earth, and debris.

When a simple herd boy who was looking after his family’s livestock in the rural settlement of Ha Mokhoulane, Maliba-Matšo in the Leribe district was in December eaten alive by the angry earth, leaving behind no trail of his existence, the nation was bound to get shaken in its oversized boots.

Efforts to recover his body have been in vain, despite the indispensable assistance that was offered by the South African police with the use of their sniffer dogs.

This goes to show that if more and similarly vicious disasters could follow, like rains that have been falling heavily with great consistency lately, there will be no hope of help coming from here at home, unless of course we get more external interventions.

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It is only fair that the nation should feel safe in its own territory without having to rely on foreigners who probably have their own problems to solve back at home.

Landslides might be alien in Lesotho, but now that we have heard about them and witnessed what they can do, we ought to work towards readying for them.

Maybe like the DMA suggests, one of the first steps to safeguard ourselves against future landslides could perhaps be to evacuate some of the settlements nestled up in our famous mountains and foothills.

It goes without saying that the idea might not sit well with the rest of Basotho because most of them originate from the highlands of Lesotho. But if vacating our beloved foothills could be one of the answers of getting ahead of this new and mortal disaster, then clearly that is the way to go.







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