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Breaking News: Call to prayer for fire victims in Burkina Faso


May 27, 2009
- Ferne Burkhardt, Mennonite World Conference

Strasbourg, France – A devastating fire ripped through three villages within five kilometers of each other in Burkina Faso on May 21.

Five people are reported dead in a small village near Kangala where an entire neighbourhood was burned down. In the village of Kotoura, five homes were burned, according to Moussa Traore in Kotoura. There are Mennonite churches in Kotoura and Kangala.

Anne Garber Kompaoré, worker with Mennonite Church Canada Witness and Mennonite Mission Network, reported that Joel (surname not available at press time), founder of the Mennonite church in Kangala, lost everything in the fire, but no one in his family was injured. Kompaoré had no information on other Mennonite families.

Lightening is the suspected cause of the fire. Because most of the grass-roofed village houses and buildings were grouped closely together, they were extremely vulnerable to the flames. The fire began while most villagers were working in the fields, so people were not nearby to fight it.

"This is the beginning of the rainy season,” said Kompaoré. “The grain that was in the granaries was destroyed, and many people are left with only what they were wearing.”

Kompaoré is calling on the global church to “pray for the victims [of the fire] and that emergency help can be organized rapidly."