Written by Désiré Murhima, Patmos Children’s Village Administrator
On May 4, 2023, a catastrophic event occurred in the neighboring territory of Kalehe, only a few kilometers away from Patmos Children’s Village: specifically in the bordering villages of Bushushu, Kyabondo and Nyamukubi.
It was a market day so there was a mass of people in one area buying, selling, and passing through. Heavy torrents of rain fell on these villages in a short time, causing mudslides, material damage, and enormous loss of human life. Houses, churches, schools, and many other infrastructures were buried in the mudflow and washed away in the waters of Lake Kivu.
Over 500 men, women, children, and many animals died in a short time.
All the rivers in the region overflowed their banks, causing enormous damage to food crops planted along the various waterways. Beans, peanuts, cassavas, soy, etc., were washed away and covered by erosion, sand, and stones. In the neighboring territory of Kalehe, the roofs of houses, schools and churches were blown off by a violent wind that blew that day in an unusual way.
About 10 km from the village of Patmos, there was a powerful landslide in Muganzo that swept all the land to the west. The Patmos Children’s Village experienced the heavy rain too. The losses on campus were mainly material. We thank God because we did not experience any human loss of life.
All the land on the shores of Lake Kivu and along the Kagohwa River was flooded with water and mud from the hills above the children’s village. The erosion has washed away almost all the food crops down to the lake level.
This natural phenomenon may have a serious impact on the nutritional status of the children for several years as the agricultural production will be greatly reduced. We must spend more money on food from far-away sources.
We are grateful that ICC previously built channels to direct the rainwater from the hill to the lake; otherwise, the whole children’s village would suffer the same flooding as Kalehe. However, we need other drains built in all the paths from the children’s homes to the main canal to save what remains and prevent the houses from collapsing. The canals helped save our campus from catastrophe, and we had planted grass on the whole ground of the children’s village. The grass helped to stabilize the sandy ground.
One of the most tragic results of this catastrophe was the number of children who lost both parents in the landslides. There was a great need to find solutions to care for these new orphan children quickly. After working with local authorities, we prayerfully agreed to accept 43 of these children. It has taken much effort, resources, and time to organize the way to bring these children here and accommodate them. They are traumatized and many are sick with various ailments.
We thank the ICC family for your prayers for divine intervention. The Lord was with us and helped us to find ways to accommodate these new children, although our homes on campus are already full. The current children on campus welcomed the newcomers and we were able to have our first Sabbath worship all together recently. We know that on our campus, Jesus will heal their hearts and help them begin to thrive again.
We need your prayers and financial support to meet the needs of these new children while serving the others in our care. God bless the ICC family for your support of our high calling to care for orphans.