On Tuesday, August 21st the levees protecting Niger’s capital city, Niamey, from the raging, swelling Niger River failed. After a devastating season of drought that left thousands upon thousands without enough to eat, a good rainy season seemed like a blessing. But the rain simply didn’t stop.
Now, the Niger River has overflowed its banks and reached its highest level since record keeping began in the 1920s. The powerful waters breached the dikes that contain the river to its usual course. Now the freed river is cutting wide swaths right through Niamey. Nearly all homes and buildings near the river’s banks are under water or destroyed.
This includes Sahel Academy—a Christian school where, in addition to local students, missionary kids from around West Africa board and attend. It also includes a seminary, a church, and homes to many families and individuals connected to these institutions.
These campuses are now under water and equipment is at risk. In the face of this, missionaries, employees, Sahel students and their parents, have been working tirelessly to rescue what they can from the facilities—piling library books into canoes and paddling them to safety, and moving computer equipment to storage.
But the truth is, the facilities are not just damaged, they are completely unusable for the foreseeable future.
As Nancy DeValve, a missionary working in Niamey, recently wrote on her blog:
“We learned on Thursday that the Niger River Basin Authority has told us that with the dikes broken and nothing to hold back the river, Sahel Academy and campuses are now a part of the river. The river will not really begin to dry up until March or April. It will go down a bit, but will crest again in December or January.”
Meanwhile, many of these missionary families, the boarding school students, and employees have lost their homes. 53 individuals associated with the campus have been displaced and must find new places to live. And so far, an estimated 125,000 Nigerians have been left homeless—their adobe (mud) homes literally melting in the inundating waters.
The workers in Niamey face difficult times ahead, as they struggle to make do with what’s left of their lives, and as they strive to minister to their now-homeless neighbors, they really need your help. Mission 227 is donating today to help with this tragic situation in Niger.
If you would like to join me, you can go to sim.org. Designate your gift to Disaster Relief Fund – Niger.
This post was copied almost exactly from an email I received from SIM.org.