Flooding in Niger (Photos courtesy SIM)
Niger (MNN) ¯ On Saturday, half the annual volume of rain hit southwestern Niger all at once.
The resulting flash floods hit the Nigerien capital, Niamey, displacing up to 75,000 people. CURE International Vice President of Operations Andy Groop says the Niger River to burst its banks in sections.
Although their hospital is also in Niamey, it's in the northern part of the city, and the flooding took place in the southern side of the river. Groop explains, "There is a low-lying flat plain area, and many homes, as we understand, have been destroyed and crops have been overrun by the flood."
The facilities came through without a scratch, but Groop says that the impact of the disaster has already been felt by some of the staff. "A couple of our staff are displaced from their homes. It's unclear at this point what level or condition their homes will be in when they're able to return."
Groop adds that some of the staff members' children have been evacuated from their boarding school, run by SIM (Serving In Mission). He spoke Tuesday morning with the wife of CURE Niger's executive director to get filled in on the details. (sic) "The Sahel Academy is a missionary boarding school. There are a couple hundred kids there in attendance, so we're having to house some of these children. At this point, their dormitories are closed due to flooding."
Additionally, Niger's government now faces the Sahel region food crisis, brought on by high market prices and poor harvests, a refugee crisis triggered by conflict in neighboring Mali, a cholera outbreak, and now devastating floods.
Groop acknowledges that the resources just aren't there to respond. "It certainly is an extraordinary challenge for all of us who are seeking to provide the humanitarian aid and relief to Niger, the poorest country in the world. It seems to be, at times, a forgotten place."
CURE's hospital in Niger is the only one of its kind in the entire country, offering specialty surgical care for handicapped children with a variety of conditions. Some patients may have a tough time getting to the facility for the help they need.
Outpatient clinics and follow-up appointment schedules could be severely disrupted. However, Groop notes that "Jesus said, 'Pray the Lord of the Harvest to bring more workers.' It's amazing to me that the Son of God would offer this advice to His followers and to His disciples, and yet, the message really is still the same." Despite the fact that they're not an aid agency, CURE's team will offer comfort and hope to all they assist.
In the meantime, they'll wait for the floods to recede, take stock of the damages, and help people, where possible. The crises are ongoing, so needs assessments are frequent. "Pray for the provision of these resources in finance, in time, and in spiritual strength and comfort as our team there seeks to minister in the Name of Christ."
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Source: Mission Network News