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St. John Paul II Rwamishenye Church in the Diocese of Bukoba in Tanzania and the parish’s rectory have been destroyed following a heavy downpour that was accompanied by strong winds Wednesday morning, Oct. 18.

Speaking to the media after visiting the site, the apostolic administrator of the Bukoba Diocese, Bishop Method Kilaini, recalled the effects of the storm, saying: “The priest was praying in the church. When the church fell, he hid under the altar. This is how he survived.” 

“Only two people were hit by falling timber,” Kilaini added. “They were taken to the hospital, and their condition is good.”

Kilaini said the Christians of Rwamishenye Parish “have no place to pray” following the tragedy.

“They had built their temporary church and now the structure has been blown away by the wind,” Kilaini lamented.  

“Part of the priest’s house, a story building, has been unroofed and the wall has fallen,” he continued, describing the destruction amid the storm as “a very big problem” for the Rwamishenye parish. 

The bishop called on well-wishers to come to the aid of the people of God in the Tanzanian parish.

“Anyone who can really help them, let us be with them in this tragedy that has befallen them,” he said, encouraging the affected people of God to remain strong amid the tragedy.

“Believers should have a great heart. God will help us. Disasters come and God gives us more power. Let’s soldier on and do bigger things than we used to do,” Kilaini said.

Tanzania’s Kagera Province has been experiencing heavy rains accompanied by strong winds. 

On Sunday, Oct. 15, more than 150 houses were unroofed by the strong winds, Muleba District Commissioner Dr. Abel Nyamahanga was quoted as saying.

Nyamahanga added that three primary schools and one secondary school were affected by the storm, which, he said, did not have any casualties. 

The Tanzania Fire and Rescue Force Kagera Regional officer-in-charge, Senior Assistant Commissioner Zabron Muhumha, urged residents to be vigilant and called on those living in flood-prone areas to move to safer locations.

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