On Monday, August 24, the Niger River flooded the Sahel Academy campus. The river water surrounded the campus and the walls could no longer hold back the flooding. As a main wall broke, water poured into the campus completely flooding it, as well as a neighboring Bible school. The river peaked last week at 23 feet (7 meters) causing a second wave of evacuations for Sahel staff. This time the movement of people was due to roads flooding and lack of the city’s water supply. It is reported that 226,000 people have been displaced and 45 have died from the flooding.
Located in Niamey, Niger, West Africa, these campuses were home to 16 missionary families, 11 of whom were staff members at Sahel Academy, as well as many more Bible School and university students. Both campuses provided places for vibrant community life. The suffering extends beyond the school, to its neighbors who have lost their homes, and to those who tend their gardens just outside the school’s walls along the river’s edge.
In God’s mercy, the flooding occurred during daylight hours, so those who were living on campus were able to grab some of their personal belongings and wade through the flood waters to safety. Prior to the wall breaking, Sahel staff had spent six hours working to put school materials as high as possible in the two-story administrative building. Recovery efforts began almost immediately. In the two weeks following the school’s flooding, teams of individuals waded and boated in to the murky, contaminated waters to recover school materials, furniture and vehicles.
Sahel Academy was scheduled to begin their school year on September 1. With the entire campus under water, the school’s administrative team had to locate two other sites for the school year, one for elementary and another for the secondary school. This was no small task to find something suitable for 140 students! They hope to start school by October 1.
Pray for TeachBeyond members at Sahel – Abby Black, Eli Faulkner, Shelley Gunderson, and Kenneth Kutcel as they settle into new homes and prepare to teach at the new school sites.