BEREA — It was like a scene from a tsunami-hit zone.
Although there were no fatalities villagers of Ha-Mokhethi have been left devastated after a storm battered their village on Saturday.
About 70 families were affected by the storm that blew away roofs and left several houses damaged.
Villagers who spoke to the Lesotho Times on Tuesday said the storm hit the village around 6pm.
’Mamolebo Kimane, 76, had to spend the weekend at a neighbour’s house after the roof of her house was blown away.
Kimane who stays alone said she was inside her house when a rock holding the roofing sheets fell and hit her. Luckily she was not hurt.
“I was already preparing to go to bed when the stone fell. It hit me on the right leg. It was dark and dusty during the storm. I could not see anything. Then the roof was blown away. I was left in the open and was soaked to the bone. I sat on my bed waiting for the rain to stop,” Kimane said.
When it was finally over Kimane walked out of her hut only to be greeted by scenes of unimaginable devastation.
“There were metal sheets all over my house. Neighbours were crying. They were also left in the open when their houses were destroyed. It was chaotic,” she said.
A kind neighbour took in those whose houses were completely destroyed like Kimane.
Furniture and clothes worth thousands of maloti were destroyed in the storm.
“There was nothing we could do to protect our property from the rain,” she said.
When this paper visited the village on Tuesday the people were still collecting their damaged roofing sheets for reuse.
Others had used tents donated by World Vision Lesotho to cover their roofs.
The organisation also donated food parcels like maize-meal, cooking oil, beans, sugar and other essentials like soap for the victims.
Lebohabg Letsie said he could have been badly injured by the falling rocks in his parents’ single room had he not hidden under the bed.
Letsie was home waiting for his mother and three siblings when the storm hit.
“I was alone at home when the storm hit. It was dark and the wind was so strong. I could hear the roof shaking. I slipped under the bed and then I heard the stones falling inside,” he said.
“My mother was shocked when she got back home later that day and found that we were now homeless.”
A neighbour took in the Letsie family for the night.
’Mathuso Motseke said it is a miracle that she and her three grandchildren escaped unhurt during the storm.
Motseke said she thought her children had been killed when they were buried under the rubble.
“God was with us that night. The roof collapsed on us. For a moment in that darkness I thought my children were dead. I could not believe it when I heard them crying for help. I searched for them in the choking dust. One of them is disabled. She called for me in the darkness,” Motseke said.
She too had to seek accommodation at her brother’s house. She has not been able to use the tent that she got from World Vision because she is struggling to raise money to pay the “boys” who have offered to do the job for her.
“The young men are taking advantage of the crisis. They want money for everything they do to help. I do not have the money to pay them to help me cover the house,” she said.
’Mathabo Lebata said one of her cows was injured by a flying metal sheet.
“The sheet hit my cow on the stomach. It is not a bad injury though. It is just lucky because the wind was so strong,” Lebata said.
She added they were still wondering how no one died in the storm.
“There were no serious injuries. A few people sustained minor injuries; which is incredible given the destruction. A miracle happened to one family where an elderly woman and two grandchildren were left unhurt after a roof from a neighbour’s house fell on their thatched hut. The house collapsed on them.
They were unhurt.
“It was unbelievable,” she said.
The village chief Moeketsi Maphala said he was overwhelmed by the devastation.
“The people need help. I don’t have the resources to help any of them, even the poorest. People do not have money to rebuild their houses and judging by the magnitude of the ruin most have to rebuild their houses from scratch. Most people are unemployed in our village and so cannot afford that. We are hoping that the government will help us in any way they can,” Maphala said.
He said officers from the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) had promised to come to inspect the destruction and determine how they would assist the villagers.
“If only they can keep their promise. The DMA did not keep the promise the last time the people needed their help after houses collapsed due to heavy rainfall two years ago,” he said.
The DMA office in Berea could not be reached for comment.