KENYA: Caritas Nairobi Delivers Relief Aid to Mathare Floods-Affected Communities

By Wesley Omondi

NAIROBI, MAY 17, 2024 (CISA) – At least 500 people received food and non-food items from Caritas Nairobi, the humanitarian arm of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi on May 15. The supported families were from selected households in Mathare 10 that were worst hit by the floods that ravaged the informal settlement in April.

The distribution of the relief aid, which took place at  St. John Paul II Catholic Church an outstation of St. Teresas’ Parish- Eastleigh, included assorted foodstuffs, clothing and mattresses donated by well-wishers and partners such as CIC Insurance Group, BRITAM Kenya, PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PWC), and international partners like Missio Munich.

Fr Peter Kiarie, Director of Caritas Nairobi.

While presiding over the distribution exercise, Fr Peter Kiarie, Director of Caritas Nairobi, emphasized the importance of community support, prayed for peace for the affected families and eulogized those who had lost their lives due to the floods.

“We continue to give them hope and to assure them that God loves them despite the crisis,” he stated, adding  “We are here in solidarity with this community as the Archdiocese of Nairobi, having been sent by the Archbishop and all our bishops.”

Diana Apiyo, a beneficiary of the aid and also a victim of the ordeal who lost her mother to the floods could not hide her relief as she received the food and non-food items.

“I am very thankful to the church for this donation,” she said while appealing for further assistance, adding “I need help to raise school fees for my final year in high school.”

Her plea highlighted the ongoing needs of the community beyond the immediate relief, which helped the affected communities develop coping mechanisms temporarily as they waited for more support in order to rebuild their lives.

Witnessing the crowd of people that had gathered outside of the Church grounds, beyond the expected number of beneficiaries by Caritas, Fr Kiarie called upon well-wishers, government bodies, non-governmental organizations, and religious institutions to unite in supporting the flood victims, reinforcing the message of collective responsibility and compassion.

“We urge everyone to come together to provide sustained aid to these families,” he said

Beneficiaries of the relief aid from selected households in Mathare 10 that were worst hit by the floods that ravaged the informal settlement in April.

Peter Mbari, the moderator of St. Teresa’s Parish, echoed Fr Kiarie’s sentiments, stressing the moral duty of Christians to aid those in distress.

“It is upon every Christian to take charge in helping those who were affected by the floods by the faith vested in them by the church and the community,” he asserted as he detailed the harsh living conditions in slum areas, which exacerbate the impact of natural calamities.

“These people live under adverse conditions and have it rough when calamities like rain or fire hit, as they are mushroomed together, making it really hard to escape or find help,” he explained.

He also criticized the recent government orders for residents to vacate the locality, urging a more humane approach.

“I appeal to the government to come humanely and help the people of Mathare and other slums who are affected,” Mbari said, calling for compassion and support from authorities in dealing with the displaced residents.