I think we’ll let some of the pictures do the talking here. In short, approximately 5 and a half inches of rain reportedly fell in the span of about 4 hours last night. People that heard the initial flashflood thought it sounded like a train derailed on the tracks that pass immediately above our campus. Really scary stuff.
The water brought down trees, railroad ties, rocks and everything else that the mud carried with it. The house you can see in the background was spared by a few feet. Our staff chaplain and his family live in a house a few yards on the other side, right behind the camera in this shot. Almost like threading a needle, the slide went right between and neither house was damaged; we are praising God for that.
Unfortunately, many people in the Kijabe fared much differently. Please pray for the families affected – it turns out mud slides and mud homes don’t mix well. There have been reports of several casualties; a few young children were trapped in their home when the flood came through. Absolutely unthinkable.
This is what’s left of the guard-trail and perimeter fence. Most of it was buried or washed down the hill.Many hands make light(er) work. Lots of students woke up excited to help where they could. This is from inside the main service gate of the campus. They dug for awhile before it could be opened completely again. The mud was about 6-8 inches deep, which is why you can’t see many feet!
This was the cause of a lot of the trouble. It’s an old tunnel under the railroad just above campus, used only for foot traffic. As the debris came down the mountain, it clogged this tunnel and the water built up on the other side like a dam. A good fifteen feet of water, mud, rocks and trees have piled up to form a small “lake”, and the water keeps pouring over the top of the tracks. The above shot is courtesy of Jeff Davis. Below is a picture of the same railroad tunnel a few months ago when we were on a hike.
Here’s another set of before/after shots. Luckily my touristy father took a few pictures on his hikes while he was visiting!
The two pictures above show the main road we use to get out of Kijabe. This morning we were told that only 1 of 4 roads out of Kijabe were passable. I think the conditions have improved since this second picture was taken this morning, but you can see the road collapsing into the ravine and the tunnel towards the top of the picture that was blocked by mud and debris as well.
Thankfully, nobody at RVA was hurt or affected seriously other than minor water damage in a few houses, but we are concerned for many of the families in our community. The housing most people live in cannot hold up against some of the rain we’ve been receiving. Water is a concern as well – most of the water lines that were running to the surrounding areas were washed away, including the lines to Kijabe Hospital. RVA uses a bore-hole that was unaffected, so we’ve been put on a tight water restriction so that we can better serve our neighbors as their water needs continue to mount. Pray that RVA can be a light in the days ahead, that we can discern where the true needs are and be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to those who need him most. The scariest part is that the rainy season is far from over – we’ve been told it rains here until July.
Even as I type, it’s starting to rain again. Please pray.
“Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…
‘Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Psalm 46:2-3,10