“I am a farmer and head of a family of 31 people.” Alou Tounkara, 62, of Guiré commune in Mali, carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. The livelihood of Alou and his family is dependent on seasonal agriculture, with petty trade forming a small source of additional income.
Ten days of heavy rain caused flooding to six of Mali’s 10 regions at the end of August 2019. Houses and farmland were damaged, the market and cemetery in Guiré were flooded, and schools, health centres, latrines and wells were damaged. Alou and his large family were not spared.
“Our village was heavily hit by a flood that had not been experienced for over 100 years,” he says. “More than 100 houses collapsed, toilets and walls cracked or fell down. In my home almost everything was washed away -- house, millet granaries, animal pens, and sheds.”
When Alou and his family were forced to leave their house, they spent two days scattered in various places: a school, a town hall and in host families who shared the food necessary for their survival.
During the early days following the disaster, Islamic Relief – with the support of the Humanitarian Coalition and the government of Canada – also began providing household necessities to families who had lost their possessions. Alou and his family received mattresses, cooking utensils and other essential goods.
“The materials provided by Islamic Relief were so much in line with what we had told them we needed that we were relieved,” says Alou. “Most of our lost goods and services have been restored. For this, we thank Islamic Relief and its generous donors very much.
“Now with this distribution we have enough to cook our food and sleep on, especially with the mattresses we received. Frankly the project was done as if I had cash and went to the market to buy everything I needed.
“It's a first in my life to see such assistance with the transparency and choice we were given.”