A Ghanaian bishop urged Catholic leaders from Africa to use Pope Francis' environmental encyclical "Laudato Si'" as the basis of their work and to encourage others involved in ecological work to do the same.
The Kenyan government declared the country's drought a national disaster, three days after Catholic bishops requested such an action.
The bishops appealed for food relief Feb. 7, in an effort to get help from other countries. Reliefweb, a specialized digital service of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in the last year, Kenya's food insecurity had nearly doubled, so that now 1.25 million people are affected. The drought has also affected livestock and wildlife in 23 of Kenya's 47 counties.
Church initiatives to promote peace among Kenya's Turkana and Pokot communities are vital to easing simmering conflicts over recently discovered oil deposits and continuing tensions over grazing lands and access to water, said the apostolic nuncio to the East Africa nation.
A bishop from eastern Congo said people in the area continue to suffer from an ongoing government-rebel conflict, and he hoped pressure from the international community would help relieve the situation.
Bishop Willy Ngumbi Ngengele of Kindu, Congo, told Catholic News Service in Nairobi that people in and around North Kivu and Goma were the worst hit.
"People there suffer from lack of food, shelter and clothes." he said. He said the church's aid agency, Caritas Internationalis, was helping victims, "and we thank God for this."