Floods in Niger displace 200,000

By September 13, 2010

Niger (MNN)
— Niger has been brought to her knees.

stricken by a severe food shortage and a prolonged drought, the people are now
dealing with too much rain. Unusually
heavy rains resulted in flooding which has displaced more than 200,000 people.

In Niamey, the River Niger
reached its highest level in more than 80 years.

Before the
floods, drought was blamed for crop failure and livestock deaths. 100,000 of the remaining cattle died in the
flooding. Much-needed crops were swept
away just two months before harvest.

Roads washed out, too, hindering the
delivery of shelter materials, blankets, food, and mosquito netting.   In the aftermath, there are also growing
concerns over the spread of malaria and waterborne diseases.

In the midst of this sits CURE
, now two years in the country, with a freshly completed hospital
and a budding outreach. Their facility
in Niamey is set to open in October 2010. It will be the only one of its kind
in the country, offering specialty surgical care for children with orthopedic

CURE Niger's Leron Lehman says
the disasters haven't physically threatened the building, but their outreach is
affected. "All of the issues surrounding
malnutrition and now the flooding: they all serve to weaken the general health
of the population, the infrastructure; and so, in that sense, we're clearly
directly impacted in a big way because the population we serve is impacted."

It could be argued that this is a
grim backdrop against which to launch a ministry. But Lehman has a different view.
"With such disasters, it's easy to attract a little bit more attention and
therefore some more aid, and some more problems are being addressed. However, it does add pretty significantly
to the challenging environment…which is already challenging, based on the
extreme poverty that's here, lack of health care, lack of resources, and lack
of education."

CURE's focus is
transformation. And healing a child changes
a family. At CURE, parents of children
with disabilities, who are burdened with feelings of guilt and shame, find healing and
hope through God's love. Lehman explains
that comes out in everything the staff undertakes with a patient and the
family. "We're
here, and we're motivated because of our faith; we're using that as our
motivation to come to this country and to live out the system. So when we meet people in their moment of
need, and they understand our motivation, it really gives us an

The new hospital will also
provide training programs for national doctors and nurses. The
24-bed hospital expects to perform 1,000 surgeries in its first year. There are still a lot of ways you can help. Click here.

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