“Snow is causing a lot of havoc in the mountains and all the sites are cut off now both by road and air,” wrote PIH Lesotho Project Manager Archie Ayeh in an email this morning.
Although it seems counter-intuitive, snowstorms can happen in July -- in the mountainous southern African country of Lesotho, where PIH has supported rural health clinics since 2006.
Mojela Masupha, the site administrator for the mountain clinic in Nohana, sent a report detailing some of the problems caused by a recent storm at his site:
A total of 6 trees have fallen down, with one of them severing the internet connection to the main clinic. After removing the tree, the connection is back at the clinic, although the line has to be re-mounted, and the tree that has fallen on the internet line has been sawed away and removed.
Acquisition of water is also a major challenge as the water source near the clinic is not giving out any water. Nohana has resorted to gathering up some of the snow in big containers to melt it and have water for cleaning and washing linen from the deliveries. Additionally, the Nohana truck is stuck in Maseru (Lesotho’s capital city) due to the bad road.
Relative to other days, patients are very few (so far about 5 have shown up) and the pace is not so high at work.
All the gentlemen working at the clinic pitched in to help clear the snow at vital areas around the facility, and also to remove some of the fallen trees blocking the road leading into the clinic.
Minor damage has been detected at the staff house back window where another tree fell and affected the whole window structure leaving cracks and the window frame weak.
Despite these issues, all is under control at the facility at present.
As roads are impassable, and the small planes that usually transport patients and supplies to the Nohana cannot land, PIH has received help from Lesotho's military. A military helicopter arrived today to air-lift a sick patient to a larger facility in the capital city.