Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) in collaboration with Disaster Management Authority (DMA) launched a Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) project at LRCS headquarters in Maseru on Tuesday 30th April 2024. The purpose of the launch was to assist over 150 households affected by heavy rains that occurred in December 2023 in Maseru and Quthing with what is cash and voucher assistance.

When officially opening the launch, the acting Secretary General of LRCS Mr. Sechaba Mokhameleli outlined that LRCS is the government’s right-hand man when it comes to disaster management hence LRCS had to take charge. He further stated that usually response to disasters happens in a 72-hour period, but since it was late in December and offices had closed for the holidays, it took longer than expected.   Mr Mokhameleli pointed out that this launch does not mean its only now that LRCS is helping the victims; rather, the victims had already been assisted with psychosocial support and food parcels with support from the DMA.

“This is where the victims will be rewarded cash for them to meet their needs. Cash and voucher assistance will be used through service providers such as Vodacom with their Mpesa and Econet with their Ecocash. Also, there is a contract to ensure that stipends really do buy necessary equipment.” Mr. Mokhameleli stated.

Miss Bongie, a delegate from International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) told the audience what the IFRC is and why it helped LRCS in this time of need. She alliterated that the IFRC is meant to support its delegate societies through mobilisation of resource. Furthermore, she stated that the IFRC plans to be proactive in order to prepare for disasters before they occur.

The President of the LRCS Mr. Hareteke Nkhetsé notified the audience that the LRCS is always the first to arrive at a disaster site and the last to go. The president through the help of the finance team, illustrated how this system is to operate and even went as far as completing a transaction where 58 families received the stipends. In his closing remarks, the president showed that this is what LRCS is all about; lending a helping hand.