Kenya’s Lutherans respond to flooding

by | Jun 21, 2024

An emergency shelter for displaced people in Kisumu County, including displaced Lutherans.
An ELCK church devastated by flooding in Kitui.

KENYA – Throughout April and May, Kenya experienced devastating flooding, with more than 300 killed, hundreds more injured, and 300,000 people displaced. And though the initial crisis has receded, Lutherans are still at work, picking up the pieces and ministering to the victims of the disaster.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) reports that more than 20 of their congregations and several schools were affected. Among the dead are three children of Lutheran members in Lopedot. Numerous church members were forced from their homes and forced to seek refuge in government-established emergency shelters. Nor is the ELCK alone in facing the current situation: the Evangelical Lutheran Conference and Ministerium of Kenya (ELCMK) has also been seriously affected by the tragedy.

“This is the worst flooding disaster our country has experienced since 1963,” said ELCK Archbishop Joseph Ochola Omolo. “The water filled lakes and ponds, then started coming onto the land where people live, sweeping everything away: houses, households, livestock, and humans.”

The ELCK’s Lake Diocese provides medical care following flooding.

The church has provided assistance to those affected by the flooding—hosting, for example, medical clinics and distributing clothes and other emergency goods. But the need is greater than the church’s current capacity. “We are still overwhelmed by the situation,” Archbishop Omolo reported. “So many families are in dire need of shelter, food, medication, and clothing, among other basic needs.”  The ELCK invites anyone moved by their plight to contact them if they wish to support their work aiding victims of flooding.

Bishop Titus Okoda of the ELCK’s Lake Diocese baptizes a child born to Lutheran parents seeking refuge during flooding.

In addition to works of mercy, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya is also prioritizing spiritual care for those affected by the flooding. “Natural disasters like this can be so cruel and destructive,” Archbishop Omolo explained. “But it is also true that in the midst of such calamites, we can see and experience God’s protective hand upon His creation. We ask you to join Kenyans in prayer.”

“I encourage Christians everywhere to remember their brothers and sisters in Kenya in prayer,” said Rev. Dr. Klaus Detlev Schulz, General Secretary of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). “May God bless the work of the church in these tragic circumstances, equipping them to reach out with the comfort of Jesus Christ, as well as with practical support for those in need.”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya is a member church of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of Lutheran church bodies grounded in the authority of Scripture and faithful to the Lutheran confessions. The Evangelical Lutheran Conference and Ministerium of Kenya is an observer member in the ILC.


By Mathew Block

Mathew Block is Communications Manager for the International Lutheran Council. He is also editor of The Canadian Lutheran magazine, and formerly served as Communications Manager for Lutheran Church–Canada.

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