| Too much water|
Rivers are sources of life, but they also take away.
The Niger River is prone to flooding along the banks where the capital city Niamey lies, but this year’s floods have been extremely high, more than the levels reached in the previous disastrous floods of 2012. This year the river rose 6.75 metres above normal and burst the dikes. According to reports, 45 people have been killed and thousands of mud-brick homes have been wiped out leaving 226,000 homeless.
Sahel Academy, a primary and secondary school which is a key component for keeping missionary families serving in West Africa, is under water. It will be months before the water fully recedes, and so the school buildings could be unusable for up to a year.
Next door, the compound of the Bible Centre (Centre Biblique de Niamey) is also under water. This also housed the Esprit Seminary, Cornerstone Association (Christian Education), and the International Evangelical Church — as well as four SIM member families and several singles. They quickly relocated to other available accommodation, but then that flooded too. The school, just embarking on a new school year, has had to find alternative temporary housing as well.
SIM Niger’s buildings have sustained significant damage due to this flooding. Standing water is becoming stagnant, full of trash and sewage and a perfect breeding ground for malaria and cholera. Pray that the river level will soon drop dramatically so that recovery efforts can begin and standing water will be less of a health hazard.
Meanwhile, in Sudan, the Nile at Khartoum has also been flooding to extraordinary levels, killing more than 100 people and destroying thousands of homes.
In a year of unprecedented natural disasters worldwide, across Africa hundreds of thousands of people have lost homes, crops, animals and livelihoods. In Nigeria a quarter of the nation’s rice harvest has been lost. Senegal got the equivalent of its total rainy season rainfall in seven hours. In Ethiopia more than 500,00 are homeless, in South Sudan, 600,000.
In Niger, it will cost SIM around $1.5 million to put right the damage to its buildings. SIM Niger’s Flood Response Project is addressing three costs including materials for restoration at Sahel Academy and Centre Biblique, labour for restoration at Sahel Academy and Centre Biblique, and care for anyone affected by the flood associated with SIM. Those who wish to donate in this emergency, please go to sim.org.nz/donate and quote project “97260 Niger Flood Response”