, 25 April, 2020 / 1:08 AM
The plight of thousands of people affected by floods and landslides in parts of Kenya is a concern of Catholic Bishops in the East African nation. They are appealing for “any form of support” to save lives of at least 400 households that have survived the effects of heavy rains in recent days.
“We call on fellow Kenyans to come forward and provide any form of support they can so that our affected brothers and sisters may return to normal life,” the Bishops have stated in a letter dated Thursday, April 23.
They have added, “We have witnessed good neighborliness, especially during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic, and we encourage Kenyans to embrace the same spirit.”
Signed by Chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC), one of the entities of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), the Bishops’ appeal is toward reaching out to hundreds of households spread across five Counties in Western Kenya.
The floods and landslides that have affected more than 400 households have compounded the misery of families in the area,” the Prelates in Kenya stated in the letter signed by Bishop John Oballa Owaa, CJPC Chairman.
“We pray that the search for those who are still missing bears fruit,” the Bishops have implored and added, “The agony of missing a loved one is painful to bear moreover during the ravaging floods.”
On Saturday, April 18, Local media reported that flash floods experienced along the border of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties in the western part of the country, swept away several houses, a market and a police post.
Some 23 have been reported missing after rivers broke their banks, causing landslides that also rendered roads in the region impassable, Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper reported.
“It is in difficult times like this we come together as brothers and sisters of the same God to show love, care and solidarity with one another,” Catholic Church leaders stated in their letter of appeal for assistance.
In the letter, the Bishops expressed their appreciation for “the Government’s multi-agency team, led by officers from the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, for their speedy response and intervention in the Elgeyo Marakwet incidence.”
However, the Church leaders called on the national and county governments of the affected areas to “immediately allocate adequate resources to address the immediate needs of the affected population.”
“The Government should intensify the search with the necessary urgency so that families are reunited as they start to reconstruct their lives,” the Bishops appealed and added, “This is important, especially during this period of COVID-19 pandemic, as those rendered homeless become even more vulnerable.”
“We urge the public to always follow early warning signs and directives to avert loss of lives and properties,” the Bishops appealed and added, “Security starts with an individual and the community.”
The Prelates assured all the affected individuals “our prayers as well as any other support we are able to provide as you struggle with the challenges of the flooding and landslides.”
“We implore the Lord to give you courage and strength to trust in God for even in these intense moments of suffering; nothing is impossible,” the Bishops concluded.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa