Flooding affects child ministry in Burkina Faso

By September 7, 2009

Burkina Faso (MNN) — Flooding has left its mark on Burkina Faso, a country in the west central part of the African continent. According to news reports, five people were killed and 150,000 left homeless as heavy rainfall triggered flooding across the region.

According to Kathy Redmond with Compassion International, "What we're seeing is basically 12 inches of water [on the ground] right now. There are 150,000 people who are homeless and are taking shelter in public schools and churches. Many homes have collapsed, and buildings, roads, and bridges have been damaged."

Redmond says the flooding has had an impact on 56 of their child development centers. "We have, which is amazing to me, 16,000 children in 80 child development centers. So if we have 56 of them affected now, you're talking about upwards of maybe 10,000 kids and their families."

Redmond adds, "The staff in Burkina Faso are assessing the damage and gathering information on the needs of specific children."

Burkina Prime Minister Tertius Zongo told reporters, "We have been able to find shelter for about 110,000 people, but there are others who have taken refuge with their neighbors."

Aid groups in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, which has a population of about 1 million, said the flood water had smashed bridges and roads and could hamper their work. Bridges and dams have been destroyed, the main hospital in Ouagadougou which is close to a dam was inundated, and some patients including about 60 children were evacuated.

Compassion International works through the local church. That partnership is making the church more relevant. "In the middle of chaos and darkness, people can look to the church and find help and find hope for getting their needs met." The needs can be physical and spiritual.

Redmond says the church being there is a testimony. "When people who are non-believers see the church standing and see the church helping and even doing a better job of that than their government, it really does a lot not only to bring hope to the community, but to show what God does in darkness and how He moves."

Pray for and support the work of Compassion International. The flooding will only add to the number of children and families who need help. Pray that God will use this to draw many people to himself.

To sponsor a child or contribute to Compassion's emergency fund, please click here.

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