Flood Affects Many in Burkina Faso's Capital
by Marcus Baeder, SIM Burkina Faso
2 September 2009
Please be in prayer for Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso. The city is under water ... it started raining at 4:30a.m. and by 7a.m. the flooding had begun. Homes are being evacuated to the Stadium in Ouaga. There are four children here at the mission that have come as their families have been evacuated from their homes—some of the missionaries are entertaining them while they are here.
The rain continued until 4p.m. which wiped out many crops in the Ouaga area—which means that many families will be without food this year. Many homes were completely flooded.
On my way to school this morning, the amount of water flooding the area was unreal. The open gutters that they have running beside the streets were overflowing and the current was moving so fast ... it was like rapids. When we went over the bridge of the canal, the water was pouring over the dam like a waterfall.
One man told his story of how he was sitting in his home reading this morning with his feet up on the coffee table. When he put his feet down, his feet got wet, so he lifted everything onto the table and then went into the bedroom and did the same. When he came back into the living room the water was waste deep, within minutes the water had raised to his chest! This was a common happening throughout the city.
Another man told his story of how he had just taken a loan out to stock his new store, as this would be able to bring profit that he would be able to pay off the loan and continue to make money. Well, his store was completely wiped out, the floods came in a wiped out all of his stock! And destroyed the store itself. Now, he is left with his loan and at a loss with his whole business plan.
I heard of a couple who was in their home today. They saw that the structure was weakening and realized they needed to get out. They were able to get the keys to their motor bike and their cell phone, and get out. They had just gotten on to the bike when the whole house collapsed.
Many homes have come tumbling down. The water has just applied too much pressure to the mud bricks and has brought them down. The wall that surrounds the hospital in town has also come down. Since the power is out across the city, many patients have been moved out to a place where they can receive the care that they need.
The last count I heard was 400 millimeters (more than 15 inches of rain) had fallen upon the city. One of the missionaries who was out helping with relief in the city, stated that the water was so high in some spots that water was reaching 1ft. under the the 8ft. high walls. So reaching 7ft. at some places! The fire department had boats out—going up and down the streets looking for people who were stranded. People here do not know how to swim—it is not something they have ever learned—so even though there has been no mention of deaths, I am sure the number is devastating.
The rains seem to be finished now, but the devastation has just begun. As the water begins to recede we will see just how much damage has been done, and just how many families are now homeless—with no money to rebuild. A man on the street said to me today when floods like this happen in Western countries, we have the means to rebuild and make the repairs. When it happens here they are left with nothing.
An old man was asked today if he had ever seen this much rain. He said that the last time there was any comparable amount of rain it was before the canal and drainage system was put in ... therefore the amount of rain that came today was far more than anyone can even imagine.
So please pray for Burkina Faso. With the surplus of water also comes contamination and multiple diseases and the possibility that many crops have been destroyed today. The multitude of people who are homeless, and need to rebuild parts of, if not all of, their homes. Please pray as well, that the people may be able to have food to eat in the days, weeks, and months to come. Thank you so much for your prayer. It is so needed at this time ... and appreciated!
This update has been re-posted from the Baeders blog. Read the original post