“Very unfortunate”: Archbishop on Gas Explosion in Kenya, 3 Dead, Hundreds Injured

Screengrab of of gas explosion in Embakasi, Nairobi, Kenya

The Catholic Archbishop of Nairobi in Kenya has described as “very unfortunate” the gas explosion that occurred on Thursday, February 1 night in Nairobi’s Eastlands area of Embakasi, resulting in the death of at least three people.

Kenya’s Daily Nation and The Standard Newspapers have reported about three confirmed deaths and well over 200 injured people, some in critical conditions, after “one lorry of unknown registration number that was loaded with gas exploded, igniting a huge ball of fire that spread widely,” according to Kenya’s government spokesperson, Isaac Mwaura.

“The inferno further damaged several vehicles and commercial properties, including many small and medium sized businesses. Sadly, residential houses in the neighborhood also caught fire, with a good number of residents still inside as it was late at night,” Mr. Mwaura has been quoted as saying.  

In an interview with ACI Africa, Archbishop Philip Anyolo of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi said, “It is very unfortunate that such an incident happened.”

“I send a message of quick recovery to the victims of this incident. I also condole with the families of the deceased and may they rest in peace,” Archbishop Anyolo added during the Friday, February 2 interview. 


In his statement on the incident, Kenya’s government spokesman said that a command center was coordinating rescue efforts and psychosocial counselling was being offered to victims of the incident. 

In the interview with ACI Africa, Archbishop Anyolo called on members of the Clergy in his Metropolitan See to be available to offer spiritual assistance to the victims of the gas explosion. 

The Archdiocese of Nairobi is looking into ways of aiding victims of the gas explosion, he said.

The Local Ordinary of Nairobi Archdiocese since his installation in November 2021 challenged the Kenyan government to be proactive, saying,  “The government should protect the people. We should learn from our past mistakes. Something similar happened in the past and I think we are too slow to learn.”

“This is a bad signal, poor planning because such a station should not be close to residential areas,” the Kenyan Catholic Archbishop, who started his Episcopal Ministry in February 1996 as Bishop of Kenya’s Kericho Diocese lamented referring to the location of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant.

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Meanwhile, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said in a statement that the gas plant was illegal and that it had rejected three applications for construction permits to build a storage and re-filling facility at the site.

EPRA said the facility’s designs did not meet its safety standards and that there was a high population around the proposed site.

In a press conference, Kenya’s government spokesperson said the owners of the company involved must “take full responsibility” for the explosion and compensate the victims.

"It is totally immoral to risk the lives of fellow Kenyans for profit. It is not acceptable for such facilities to be within residential areas," Mr. Mwaura has been quoted as saying.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.