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Anthrax outbreak looming – UN

Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro

Feb. 20, 2021 2 min read

2 min read

UNITED Nations (UN) Lesotho has warned that the heavy rains the country is experiencing are likely to cause a nationwide Anthrax outbreak as the floods bring to the earth surface spore-forming bacterium that are the root of the disease, hence the livestock will need rapid vaccine to survive.

The risk of Anthrax is at its highest after flooding as the spores which are normally embedded deep in the soil are brought to the surface when the ground is disturbed by heavy rains and soil erosion among others.

The UN also notes that nine out of 10 districts in Lesotho experienced over 50mm of rainfall and flooding, causing damage to infrastructure and crops as well as threats to health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) together with livestock.

The global body has pledged support to the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) for conducting rapid assessments in sectors such as shelter, agriculture, livestock, health and infrastructure, as well as engaging district representatives in order to adhere to COVID-19 regulations.

Commenting of the consequences of the floods, Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro on Tuesday said the heavy rainfalls have caused serious damage to water sources, infrastructure, agricultural production, food security and the environment, attributing these to the changing climate conditions to which Basotho, like all other nations, must adapt.

He said lives were also lost due to the floods, adding that the heavy rains further caused landslides in certain areas, which in turn destroyed homes, roads and pathways.

 The damage, which has affected the entire country that is still reeling from the effects of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Majoro said, necessitates the government to declare a state of emergency for next six months starting from February 16.

“We therefore call upon our Development Partners to assist in our efforts to redress the situation,” he said.

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He noted that the government has already mobilised its resources to address this situation including establishing a dedicated ministerial committee, instructing all the DMA structures to be mobilised, redeploying all Local Government yellow plant to the affected areas and re-directing at least 5 000 workers to assist in the rehabilitation effort.

The government is therefore making a clarion call to its Development Partners and Friends to assist the country in undertaking the emergency response and post-disaster recovery efforts inclusive of reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Equally important will be technical and logistical support to ensure that adequate basic needs reach the affected areas and communities expeditiously.

“We preliminarily estimate that the cost of this rehabilitation programme will be somewhere between M70 million and M100 million,” Dr Majoro also said.



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