Due to the coronavirus pandemic, pastor Daniel Gitau has been unable to visit the UK this month as planned. DBC has been supporting his ministry and especially the clinic in Dundori for about 25 years now. At the present time we are sending a gift to help during the ongoing crises.
The Church in Kenya continues to supply assorted food packs of maize flour, rice, sugar, cooking fat and soap. The distribution is being overseen by the pastors/leaders of the various churches in Nakuru County who include Daniel and his wife Fennih as well as Gideon and his wife Beatrice. Some people have also received cash for paying rent. The churches are fulfilling their calling as the last place of hope and a safe haven to those stricken by any form of calamity.
Three calamities in Kenya contribute at present to the urgent need for the distribution of food aid to poor afflicted families who otherwise would die of hunger. These are as follows:-
- The coronavirus pandemic
The latest statistics tell us that there are 758 confirmed cases of the virus in Kenya, and 42 deaths. A night-time curfew rather than a full lock down has been enforced since the start of April with people encouraged to stay at home and practise social distancing. Nairobi, the capital city is a Covid-19 hotspot where a travel ban has been imposed along with some other major cities. The government is involved in the distribution of food packs to poor families who cannot make a living due to the restrictions. There has been fighting over the food packs and consequent injury as people try to receive aid. The government is also distributing funds to the elderly from its social fund as well as footing quarantine bills.
Meanwhile sections of the Church in Kenya have felt unfairly left out in the role of solution provider to the coronavirus predicament. A group of pastors has appealed for the Church to be added to essential services allowed to operate. The Church believes that faith is the best way to fight an unseen enemy and that while the churches remain closed, the country may be involved in a futile exercise to prevent the disease spreading.
- The locust invasion
Desert locusts continue to wreak havoc in 12 counties, ravaging crops and vegetation. Food security is threatened for both animals and humans.
The Daily Nation newspaper claims that the government is monitoring the situation and that it is spraying chemicals to kill off the locusts. It has reportedly procured 90,000 litres of pesticides. However, heavy rains in many parts of the country have threatened to completely halt aerial spraying which is the most effective way of controlling the pests. Therefore, at the moment very little can be done.
The UN agency, FAO, in its latest update, has warned that the current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming as more swarms form and mature in Northern and Central Kenya and in Ethiopia ( note that Nakuru is situated NW of Nairobi in the Great Rift Valley). Daniel asks for prayer that this plague does not develop further and that crops are protected.
- Floods caused by heavy rainfall
Floods have occurred in different areas of the country and especially over Western Kenya and the Central Rift Valley, including parts of Nakuru. People have lost their homes, furniture, utensils etc. and crops have been submerged. Displaced families need food aid, shelter and clean water. Some people have even been swept away by flood waters. Contingency measures need to be put in place urgently to save more lives being lost and to avoid further loss of property. Infrastructure has been destroyed including roads, bridges and a rail track in Nakuru County when the land beneath was washed away by floods. Residents of Nakuru also woke up to a collapsed road which was destroyed after a heavy downpour. Daniel says that in many ways this situation is more urgent than Covid-19. The forecast warns of more rains and floods during the rest of May which are expected to continue into June. Landslides over hilly areas and lightning strikes are also probable.
Nevertheless, Daniel and the Church remain strong in faith, committing everything to God in prayer. He believes that the Church will overcome all these issues.