Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA – Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya’s Bishop of Ngong Diocese, John Oballa Owaa, who is also the Bishop-Chair of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) at the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops empathised with the affected families. There have been floods in Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Bungoma, Homabay and Kisumu Counties. Families have lost loved ones, while many others are displaced. There has also been significant loss of material property.
Churches, schools, homes damaged by floods
The Bishops said that even “service facilities such as hospitals, churches, care homes and schools have either been swept away or badly damaged by the raging waters.”
The disastrous floods and landslides caused by unprecedented heavy rains in parts of Kenya resulted in over 400 households being affected. The Bishops have appealed to government and well-wishers to help families in the affected areas. They observed that the disaster has happened at a time when the country is also grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Households urgently need humanitarian aid
“We commend the government’s multi-agency team, led by officers from the Ministry of Interior and Coordination, for their speedy response and intervention in the Elgeyo Marakwet incidence,” reads part of the statement signed by Bishop John Oballa Owaa.
“We, however, call on the two levels of government to immediately allocate adequate resources to address the immediate needs of the affected population. This is important, especially during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, as those rendered homeless become even more vulnerable,” the Bishops said.
Landslides and floods at a time of COVID-19
Sharing his experience of the floods, Fr. Shadrack Malo, the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Ahero in Kisumu Archdiocese also worried that the floods would compromise the COVID-19 fight. “With the issue of COVID-19, it might not be very easy because…observing safety measures (of COVID-19), while people are searching for food and security is a bit difficult,” Fr. Malo said.