Catholic church mobilises aid for flood victims

Archbishop Martin Kivuva. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

Mombasa Catholic Archbishop Martin Kivuva has urged the government to construct mega-dams to avert perennial floods that have killed more than 200 people.

Speaking during the golden Jubilee celebration of St Joseph Catholic Church in Tudor Parish, Sunday, Archbishop Kivuva prayed for families that lost their loved ones to floods wreaking havoc across the country.

“The government should construct mega-dams to harvest water because it is a big waste. Although there are floods, after a short while the waters will subside and flow into the ocean and they were not helpful but caused devastating effects,” said the Archbishop who is also the chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.

He was accompanied by the head of Tudor parish, Father Richard Airo among other priests.

Kivuva called for proper construction of dams to harvest water from the rivers for domestic, irrigation and industrial use including the generation of hydroelectric power.

He said experts, have likened the ongoing heavy rains to the ones witnessed in 1961 when people were relocated to other parts of the country.

“The disasters should teach us lessons to put in place emergency systems that will offer quick response to victims,” said Kivuva, appealing for collaboration instead of blame game in assisting the victims.

“As a church, we have encouraged our stakeholders to contribute food and clothes to be distributed to victims in the centres they are holed in,” he added.

All the parishes under the Catholic archdiocese of Mombasa have been told to inform faithful to contribute towards alleviating the suffering of flood victims.

At the same time, the Archbishop urged striking doctors to return to work and offer medicare to Kenyans affected by floods.

Malindi Catholic Diocese Bishop Willybard Lagho said flooding is not a new phenomenon in the country or the world but “we don’t seem to learn from the past.”

“If someone constructs a house on riparian land or a waterway there will be problems. Our biggest challenge as a country is that we have allowed the construction of houses on waterways and authorised construction of new buildings without improving the drainage,” said Bishop Lagho.

“Our engineers and leaders must introspect because some of the disasters are man-made and could be avoided,” he added.

Bishop Lagho revealed that three Catholic-sponsored schools in Malindi are marooned by floods because farmers have cultivated on the river banks.

He urged parents to monitor their children's behaviours to ensure they don't go a stray.

“As a nation, we need to improve on our morals and good morals must be built from religion which plays a pivotal role in shaping the morals of our children and leaders,” stated Bishop Lagho.