Kenya: thousands left homeless as city demolishes slum

 More than five thousand people, mostly women and children are now homeless after a contingent of police and city council guards demolished their houses at the Deep Sea, a slum within Consolata Shrine, Westlands, Nairobi. According to residents, the heavily-armed personnel raided the slum dwelling at around 1.30am on Saturday. They then ordered everybody to leave their houses before pulling down the structures using bulldozers. "Our pleas to them to let us take out our belongings fell on deaf ears, they said they were working on orders from the Provincial Commissioner, and they would not leave until every structure had be demolished," said Phillip Ingosi, a resident of the slum. Fr Franco Cellana IMC, a Consolata Missionary who has been working with the communities in the slum for several years expressed dismay over the demolition. "We did not create the slum but we have only been trying to improve the lives of slum dwellers," said an evidently emotional Fr Cellana. Consolata Shrine has had community projects in Deep Sea since Easter 2000. All this time, the Consolata Missionaries, working with two Italian Non Governmental Organizations (Africa Rafiki and Africa Sea) have built water and sewerage system, a health centre and started several income generating projects for the slum residents. According to Jared Wachira, the chairperson of the Consolata Shrine Charity Committee, it was unfair for the government to order the demolition of so many residential houses without organising for alternative accommodation for those affected. Leaving young children hungry and in the cold for several nights is an inhuman act by the government, especially given that no notice had been given to the residents, he told CISA in an interview. The parish is now seeking alternative means to resettle the victims and provide them with basic necessities. Source: Catholic Information Service Africa

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