“The people living on the streets in towns and those suffering from mental illness are in a more precarious situation with a high risk of contracting, spreading, and being overwhelmed by COVID-19″, said His Exc. Mgr. Virgilio Pante, Bishop of Maralal and Chairman of the Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Seafarers of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, KCCB during his homily g on Sunday, June 14, Solemnity of Corpus Domini.
Bishop Pante expressed the concern of the Kenyan Bishops about the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations including refugees, internally displaced persons, people on the move such as truck drivers, pastoralists, persons living on the streets, and people with mental illness.
The Bishop of Maralal recalled the particular situation of truck drivers who contribute immensely to the economic health of the Country. “The continual rise in numbers of truck drivers contracting COVID-19 indicates a gap in addressing their safety and health. Therefore it is a matter of great concern to all of us. We appeal to the Government to urgently address the challenges the truck drivers, are facing in order to curb the rising spread of the virus”, said Mgr. Pante.
Bishop Pante said concerted efforts have to be made in addressing the plight of internally displaced persons and refugees who live in congested places without proper facilities to deal with the surge in infections.
“The refugees and internally displaced people who reside in densely populated camps face a risk of contracting Corona-virus. We appeal that more deliberate mitigation measures are urgently implemented to protect these vulnerable groups”, he said.
Finally, Bishop Pante recalled the situation of the nomadic communities dedicated to sheep farming, “Although reported cases of Covid-19 among the pastoralist communities are low, there is a need for sensitization of the communities on COVID-19 risk factors and preventive measures”.