Thursday, September 03, 2009

I've been trying to phone Aisha all morning. And I've been wondering about Yvonne and her children, too- but she has no access to a phone. In fact, I've been worried about everyone in Ouaga- especially my many Burkinabé friends whose simple mud-brick homes stood little chance of surviving the terrible rains of Tuesday, September 1st.

Yesterday I didn't even turn on my computer or television, so I only found out about this disaster this morning. My Facebook page was full of news from many friends in Ouaga- lucky friends with internet access and sturdy homes - though there was flooding and lots of property damage everywhere.

In just 10 hours, over a foot of rain fell. Houses collapsed, cars floated away and bridges washed out.
The only bright spot is that there seem to be relatively few death reported- only five so far. The downside is that with 150,000 left homeless and this year's food crop damaged, there may be lots more suffering ahead for many people.

Here are a few photos:
This one was taken the morning of the 1st, just outside the ISO gates, very close to our old house.

These cars floating away were photographed along the Blvd Charles de G. It's the road we'd take every day to get to school and work.

This is also from our old neighborhood:

Here's one man try to keep the water out:

Here are some pictures from the next day. They show what happens to mud brick houses when it rains too much, too hard.
One of the deaths was caused by a collasping house. Luckily, it seems that most people managed to escape their homes before they fell in.

(NB: These were taken by Alice and Pete- friends from Ouaga. They are lovely people and doing all they can to help out in this difficult situation.)

Burkina Faso is already a country with many issues- education woes, poverty, corruption. The government is trying to meet the challenge of this disaster...That's what the Burkinabé press reports, anyway. But they have little/almost no money, no experience (the last flood was in 1919) and lots of other problems to deal with.
I really fear this flood will be responsible for even more hunger and disease in an already difficult environment.
In the meantime, I try the phone again.
And I wait.


Teacher Mommy said...

Oh honey. I remember all too well the fear and uncertainty and NOT KNOWING when there's a disaster going on and it's so far away and you have no way of finding out right away what's going on with the people you love...


Beth said...

Thanks so much for the kind thoughts. I'm still phoning every chance I get. I really think the networks must all be down...

somebird said...

beth, thanks so much for these updates. i just finally got internet working after my move and hadn't heard the news! thanks especially for the update on Papiers, please send along any other news you get to my email and i'll keep checking your blog. i am so saddened right now- its hard to imagine things getting more difficult in burkina.
much love, leena