Rains force people from homes in Burkina Faso

By September 18, 2009

Burkina Faso (MNN) — Nine people are dead and 150,000 are affected by heavy rains in the African country of Burkina Faso. The central hospital in the capital is badly damaged by flood waters. More than 100,000 people are homeless, and many are now living in schools and community centers. Due to the overcrowded conditions, men are sleeping outside where they are exposed to malaria-infected mosquitoes breeding on fields of standing water.

According to Compassion International, flood waters continue to destroy the homes of Compassion-assisted children in the Ouagadougou region. Compassion's Geoff Peters says, "The most immediate report that we have is that 1,537 Compassion-assisted children in that country have been affected, either by having their homes completely destroyed or by having their homes flooded out to the point where they're just not really inhabitable right now."

Since the flooding, Compassion Burkina Faso has been distributing relief supplies to registered children and their families. The staff in Burkina Faso continues to work around the clock to help and address the overwhelming needs.

There's a growing concern about standing water. "Now there is concern about water-borne diseases and other issues that go along with that." Among the diseases: malaria and meningitis.

Peters says this disaster is affecting more than just the people of Burkina Faso. "We have sponsors that really come from 11 different countries around the world. And so it's just a matter of getting in touch with those sponsors and letting them know the exact status of their sponsored child."

While Compassion already sent out an emergency food kit to help in the short-term, now they're focused on long-term assistance. "We have set our sights on being able to rebuild about 1,100 homes. In addition to that, we'll help about 1,500 families with replenishing their basic household items as well as their basic work tools."

Compassion is praying they'll be able to raise $1.7 million to help take care of these needs. Peters says all of the work is being done through the local church. Many of the people affected found refuge and shelter in local churches. He's asking you to pray that these churches "might be able to provide what these people need, not only the tangible assets that they need but also to be able to come alongside them and share the love of Christ."

While your support is needed to help meet the crisis, Peters says there's a way for you to have an immediate impact. "We have a number of kids right now in Burkina Faso who are unsponsored. And typically, now is the opportunity to get involved; having a new sponsor is the way to quickly rebuild hope."

If you'd like to help with the crisis in Burkina Faso, click here.

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