By Lerato Matheka

Mabokang Marake battles to contain the pain of losing her daughter and grandson in one of the most tragic deaths witnessed at Linakeng River in Lesotho.

A minibus, reported to have carried 16 passengers, drove over a flooded road but was quickly swept into a river. A total of eight people, including the driver, survived the accident. Three passengers were recovered dead. Five bodies, Mabokang and her son included, are still missing.

The Lesotho Red Cross Society has been providing psychosocial support to Mabokang along with others who were affected by the accident, including some of the survivors.

Searching for inner peace

It’s now two months and bodies of her loved ones are yet to be found.  “I know we might not find the body of my grandson, because he was too young. But I need to bury my daughter and I will find peace if they can find her body. It still hurts, and I feel like there is a hole dug in my heart,” says the 43-year-old as tears fell down her cheeks.

The therapy sessions by Red Cross, Marake says, may help us deal with this tragedy. 

Ntee Thaane, who survived the accident, says his emotions are still shaken. “I find myself waking up in the middle of the night fighting water, only to realize it’s only a bad dream. I am very glad we have been given this opportunity to share our experiences and hope that more similar sessions can be organized. I feel a little better,” he says.

Prevention and protection

Maine Makula, Lesotho Red Cross Disaster Management Coordinator, says that their role is also to help prevent such tragedies in the future.

“The Lesotho Red Cross Society’s mandate is to assist victims of natural and manmade disasters and if one of the two occurs, it is our responsibility to ensure that the affected and vulnerable communities get assistance, at least on first aid basis,” Makula said.

He added: “Usually, communities already know disasters they are prone to, so our responsibility is to stress prevention and protection of such disasters.”

Editing by Osman Mohamed Osman