Flash flooding displaces thousands in Niger

By August 22, 2012

(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
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

Our Featured Links Section has more about CURE Niger.


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