27 April 2020, The Tablet

Bishops urge more support for flood victims 

Bishops urge more support for flood victims 

People use tyres to cross a flooded road in Nairobi, capital of Kenya (file pic 2018).
Fred Mutune/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Catholic bishops in Kenya are urging the government to send more resources to thousands of people who have been left homeless by floods and landslides in Western and Rift Valley regions.

At least 28 people have died and hundreds of families are displaced by the floods that have also destroyed properties including houses and farms. On Sunday, reports indicated that more than 30,000 people displaced in Western Kenya were in need of humanitarian assistance. 

Another 4000 were displaced on 18 April, when a massive mudslide hit West Pokot and Marakwet Counties in the Rift Valley. The mudslide flattened Chesogon market, a police post and a school, and swept away crops and livestock. 

 “We…call on… the government to allocate immediately resources to address the needs of the affected population. This is important, especially during this period of Covid-19 pandemic, as those left homeless become more vulnerable,” said Bishop John Owaa, the chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Justice and Peace Commission in a statement. “Service facilities such as hospitals, churches, care homes and schools have either been swept away or damaged by raging waters.”

The bishop said the church was in solidarity with the suffering and urged the people to bring forward any form of support in the spirit of good neighbourliness. He pointed out that the loss of homes was especially critical at this time when the people have to stay at home to observe the anti-coronavirus guidelines.

At the same time, families in the Rift Valley are continuing searching for their family members, even after an army search team left the scene. Some have maintained that their relatives are still buried by mud along river banks.

“We pray that the search for those who are still missing bears fruits. The agony of missing a loved one is painful to bear during the raging floods. The government should intensify the search with necessary urgency so that families can be re-united as they reconstruct their lives,” said Owaa.

Kenya’s Coovid-19 cases are the highest in East Africa. On Sunday 26 April, the numbers of cases reached 355 after tests involving nearly 18,000 people. Deaths stood at 14 with 106 recoveries. 


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