OB Niger’s Brittany Breedlove-Doulaye shares her firsthand account of flood relief efforts in Niger.
SARANDO, Niger – Most homes in Niger are built with handmade mud bricks and thatch roofing, without solid foundations. Amid recent heavy rains and flooding from the Niger River, the village of Sarando was inundated with water and more than half of the homes here were destroyed.
Aissa, a mother of five, lost her home to the flooding. “When the floods came, our house fell and everything inside was destroyed,” she said. “We were left with nothing. We did not know what to do—we have nothing to do now but sit.”
Kadi, a strong, lively woman who also lost her home in the flooding, told us that families have resorted to “sleeping anywhere that they could find dry ground.” Kadi’s family is sleeping outside in an open space on plastic mats.
In addition to the loss of their homes, these families also suffered from the devastation of having their land, livestock and food stores ruined. The floods hit Sarando at the peak of the planting season, completely inundating these farms and devastating harvests along the Niger River—further compounding the effects of last year’s devastating famine.
Sarando’s chief specified that the village’s most urgent need was food. To help these families, Operation Blessing staff assisted our German partner organization Humedica to help conduct two emergency distributions of rice and peas to more than 170 families in need. The villagers of Sarando welcomed the aid with smiles and words of appreciation—their relief evident as rations were divided and distributed.
“Some days we eat, some days we eat a little, and some days we eat nothing,” Kadi told us. “All we have is what we have been given. All of those who have shown generosity in giving have become part of our family, part of our village.”
Aissa summed up her joy by declaring, “Thank you, thank you to everyone who has given us food. You have really worked hard and we are very happy. What you have given is so good for us.”