Sunday, October 21, 2007

Flooding in Matagalpa

In this picture you can see two cars that the Rio Grande of Matagalpa have claimed because of heavy rains and flooding last week in the city and departmento of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Here are observations Bev saw and made from Matagalpa on Saturday. I'll try to get some photos that show some of the efforts we at Iglesia La Fuente have made and some of the damage incurred as soon as possible.

The last two days have been quite traumatic in Matagalpa due to very heavy rains and flooding. On Wednesday about dusk the Rio Grande of Matagalpa, that goes through the center of the city and is usually more like a stream instead of a great river, overflowed its banks due to very heavy rains up in the mountains. There was hardly any warning of the pending doom, and many people close to the river lost all or the majority of their material goods, due to either being swept away in the torrential waters or by being damaged by the intrusion of muddy, smelly water four feet or higher into their homes. Within 30 minutes of the hit, the electricity in the entire city went out, and we remained without power until 6 am on Thursday. This left people battling the raging river in the dark, many overcome with panic, fear, and desperation.

On Thursday, trudging through the mud up to my knees to visit our families in one neighborhood, I cried with them at the devastation all around as I prayed, "God give me some words of hope for your people. What do I say? What do I do?"

A team of willing servants from the church assembled Thursday morning, and by Friday morning 450 plates of food had been prepared and delivered to the hardest hit areas. We've also been giving away clothes and other basic items as quickly as they are collected. By Friday some other groups also started giving aid, so we have directed our efforts yesterday and today including (another 250 plates of food), towards a neglected area north of town where one of our affected member's home is located. The estimate is that over 1000 families were affected, among which are 12 families in our church. One family is staying with us as they seek to relocate in another house. This is the second time this month that the river has entered their home. Wednesday's trauma was much worse than the effects of Felix, and the overall damage appears to surpass that of Hurricane Mitch back in 1998, when we first moved to Matagalpa. Eight have been reported dead, crops have been lost, and many bridges and roads have been destroyed.

The city remains without clean water, which has obviously hindered efforts at cleaning up and trying to salvage items with a good washing. Yesterday I cleaned our house gutters so that our rain water will be more usable, since that is our only source of water right now until the destroyed city pipes are repaired.

Please continue to pray for us: 1) Restoration and provision, strength and hope for those who suffered loss; 2) Strength, endurance, and a chance to rest for those that have been serving non-stop; 3) rapid restoration of city water, and enough rain to provide the necessary water until then; 4) that our efforts will show the steadfast love of the Lord and glorify Him.

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