Over the last few years, Archbishop Michel Cartatéguy SMA of Niger has received support from the wider SMA family in Ireland – during periods of drought and famine in this vast north African country, particularly in 2010. In a recent letter he recounted the opposite problem he is now facing, along with the people of Niamey:
‘During the early morning of 19 August, 126 mm of rain fell in Niamey. The River Niger burst its banks and has yet to subside completely. The number of victims and the amount of property damaged changes from hour to hour. To date, 43 are confirmed dead and thousands displaced. Also thousands of houses have been badly damaged as well as hundreds of hectares of land severely flooded. Roads have been washed away and many bridges damaged. The government announced an urgent appeal for 1.4 billion CFA (more than 2.1 million Euros) to deal with the immediate needs of the victims.
Immediately after the flood, the Church responded by giving 10 tons of millet to the department in the Office of the Prime Minister who were looking after the crisis. We also donated 5 tons of millet to the Parish Solidarity & Development Committees in the two districts most affected. It was all we had in reserve.’
This flood came after a prolonged dry period which brought famine to parts of the country. Niger also had to deal with refugees coming in from Mali, fleeing Islamist extremists.
When the Archbishop visited Ireland in 2010 he met the SMA community in Cork to thank them, and our supporters, for the assistance he had received from the people of Ireland. Read Irish people support Niger victims here.
Should you want to help Archbishop Michel please Donate Online and choose Famine Relief. All funds raised will go to the Archdiocese of Niamey to help them cope with the demands on their help. Thank You!
IRIN News Agency has also a recent article on the situation in Niger. Read it here.