IT ISN’T OVER YET!
First, I really appreciate all of you who prayed that we would be kept safe. But this isn’t over yet, so please keep the prayer chains going.
The storm is now south of Balama, BUT will still cause much rain in the Balama area through this Thursday.
And some of the weather forecast models are concerned it could regenerate! That means the storm cell would go back out to sea, regain strength, then hit us a 2nd time!
Communications are completely down in Meluco where the Cyclone did the most damage. During the 1st day of the storm, our orphan manager, Sylvai (pronounced Sil-vi), in Meluco texted us the updates, noted below. Then the cyclone stalled just north of Meluco, battering it with estimated 60 mph (100 km) winds and heavy rains for 2 days. Here in Balama we have received heavy rains for 4 days, and it is still raining as I write this.
Here’s what I do know:
1. ALL THE CHILDREN AND WIDOWS ARE SAFE! The only report of injury we received was our Meluco manager’s 13 year old son, who was hit by a flying tree branch. It cut his leg, needing 5 stiches.
2. The Meluco FOOD WAREHOUSE with the May food was DESTROYED. This is a major loss, as June begins the “buying season” for the 2019 corn and beans.
3. Our Meluco CHURCH, food distribution area, and guard house were all DESTROYED.
4. The Meluco Pastor’s home, the 1 orphan home we have in Meluco, and our Manager’s home were left standing! PTL FOR THAT!
The ROOF of Sylvai’s house was LIFTED by the strong winds, but then crashed back down onto the strong fence posts holding his walls. THIS IS A MIRACLE!!! It cracked the mud on his walls, but his house held together.
These homes stood when many others fell, because we made the walls of “pao-peeky” (pow-peek-ee). (Digging deep post holes for 16 foot wooden posts, that are then woven together with bamboo and plastered with mud.) Stronger than mud brick, they stood the test of raging winds!
5. The orphan’s food in Meluco’s destroyed warehouse is wet, but still usable if dried, pounded into flour, and eaten immediately. Sylvia plans to distribute it to the orphans and widows as soon as the storm passes.
6. WHEN THIS FOOD IS GONE, the major challenges begin.
7. Saturday, April 27, Sylvai texted that the temporary bridge to Meluco was washed away AGAIN because of the swollen river from all the rains. If you remember, this bridge collapsed in March from a flash flood. It had been replaced with a temporary dirt/culvert bridge which worked well for small vehicles.
8. REBUILDING the warehouse is essential BEFORE June food buying begins. BUT the bridge must be fixed ASAP for that to happen. WE only have 30 days, and our hands are tied at the moment.
9. BEANS IN THE FIELDS of Balama are very wet and in danger of rotting. Harvest time is a VERY BAD TIME to get 4 days of non-stop rainfall, and more coming later this week.
10. The big unknown right now is: WILL THERE BE CROPS TO BUY in Balama or Meluco?
MELUCO’S CORN that we depend on for those 515 orphans is most likely destroyed. Waiting on info which will take 7–10 days to obtain.
BALAMA’S CROPS: we will begin contacting the Farmers’ Co-op Leaders this week in the major villages to find out ifthey were able to save their crops.
The Lord gave me several scriptures to encourage me to not become discouraged. He will make a way where there seems to be no way.
I will inform you of the needs later this week. I’m working on the costs of putting the Meluco mission station back together.
Bush Bunny Brenda Lange
Note from staff in the US: Here are news source images we imagine are similar to what Brenda has been seeing. Massive flooding and destruction. And forecasters are calling for increased flooding in the days to come. Weather reports say the area has received 300mm (nearly 12 inches) of rain since landfall, and could receive another 200mm (8 inches) in the next few days. That is over half the expected ANNUAL rainfall in the region in the span of one week coupled with additional flooding from runoff. We are grateful for your prayers and support.